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Martin Wilner, “More Drawings About History & Evidence


Seeing Martin Wilner’s work will either make you want to draw more than you do or stop drawing for good. If it has neither affect on you, it only proves that you’re a resolute art-maker with a strong constitution and you should keep up the good work. Wilner’s work can unsteady the weak-kneed simply because it is so grand. And not in a Bernini, comprehension-defying way but in the humblest, most knowable, sort of way. He draws in a famliar tongue, with observations and shortcuts shared by countless youngsters trying to draw their best, and scores of veterans who know that flat-footed directness can be a seeringly honest form of communication. Mark Alan Stamaty, R. Crumb, R. Crumb’s brother, Charles, Marlene McCarty, these people, like Wilner, take simple building blocks such as voice bubbles, big, laced shoes, and stiff profiles, and aggregate them into masterpieces of poetry and insight that let you see clearly their method of construction but leave you dazzled with the knowledge that such heights can be reached just by stacking brick upon brick. Of course it’s not only the engineering that works here, it’s the mind of the story that makes it worth gawking at. Wilner’s Journal of Evidence Weekly is a kind of 17th Century Chinese scroll painting born through the prism of underground comix, a ball to walk along to be sure but it would be a pretty tedious affair if not for its palpable sense of mission, that of getting down on paper not art but life.