Hales is delighted to announce O contentment! joy!, Martyn Cross‘s debut solo exhibit with the gallery. The exhibition functions new paintings that muse on Gustav Flaubert’s seminal book The Temptation of St Anthony.

Cross is mostly a painter engaged with ‘world making.’ The act of painting for him is a indicates to explore the inner daily life and strangeness of the everyday. Every single work begins in reality, with recognizable limbs and factors of landscape, which transform into uncanny scenes. Biomorphic landscapes talk to mythologies, but in Cross’s paintings the narratives are knowingly ambiguous. Acquainted and mysterious, quiet and epic, scale and irregularity in proportion puzzles the viewer. 

Recognised for paintings which are deliberately difficult to spot in record, there is a timelessness to Cross’s operates, reminiscent of unearthed artifacts. Paintings are made in contemplative levels the pigments remain vibrant – his software and beautiful use of color produces functions that hum. Sanding and scratching the area, Cross strives to make paintings that have lived a daily life, the trace of their existence evident. Monumental hangings converse to a heroic narrative of better powers, introduced together with smaller paintings which are jewel-like and intimate.

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Cross has very long been fascinated by depictions of the Temptation of St Anthony throughout art recordsignificantly Hieronymus Bosch’s The Temptation of St Anthony* which is a single of the additional subdued iterations. Observing how formulaic the bulk of depictions are, Cross notes a reoccurrence of ‘a wild on the lookout Tony’ battling with demons in actual physical forms. Owning study Flaubert’s Temptation of St Anthony this 12 months, Cross was struck how quickly the surrealist imagery was conjured from the pages. Looking at the ultimate paragraph of  Flaubert’s novel Cross has likened to obtaining his ‘holy grail’ – the words and phrases properly aligning with his apply and fostered a want to make a lot more perform:

‘O joy! contentment! I have noticed the beginning of daily life, I have seen the beginning of movement. The blood in my veins is beating so tricky that it will burst them. I experience like traveling, swimming, yelping, bellowing, howling. I’d like to have wings, a carapace, a rind, to breathe out smoke, wave my trunk, twist my system, divide myself up, to be inside each-issue, to drift away with odours, acquire as crops do, flow like drinking water, vibrate like audio, gleam like light-weight, to curl myself up into each and every condition, to penetrate each and every atom, to get down to the depth of matter – to be make any difference!’

 For lots of a long time, prior to reading through this affirming paragraph, Cross had been establishing motifs that imbue the psychological and the otherworldly into landscapes. The is effective in the exhibition take The Temptation of St Anthony as a starting up position – there are no physical manifestations of demons but fairly explorations of tips that align with Flaubert’s spirit and particular curiosity in make a difference woven into the story. The title of the exhibition, O pleasure! joy! directly estimates Flaubert, giving a wry commentary of a sought-after emotion, counterbalancing the darker, extra introspective themes of the paintings. Cross states, ‘I consider more than these previous couple of decades, especially with lockdown, we’ve all come to be a bit Anthony…Locked in ourselves with our demons…’ Billowing clouds, swirling waves, tumbling waterfalls, arching bodies, all-seeing eyes, outsized pointing fingers and blistering suns variety visions of inward reflection.