PopUp Painting’s artist of the week is Michael Craig-Martin.
Michael Craig-Martin is a painter and sculptor who was born in Dublin in 1941 and educated in the United States, where he studied at Yale University.
During his time at Yale, the artist focused his work predominantly on sculpture, with Minimalism and artists such a Donald Judd having a strong influence on his work. He returned to Europe in the mid-1960s and became a key figure in the first generation of British conceptual artists. Throughout his career Craig-Martin explored the aesthetic character of objects, in particular mass-produced, seemingly everyday objects. During the 1990s the focus of his work shifted decisively to painting, with boldly outlined motifs and luridly vivid colour schemes in unexpected (and at times apparently arbitrary) combinations applied both to works on canvas and to increasingly complex installations of wall paintings. For his one-man exhibitions at the Kunstverein Hannover in 1998, Craig-Martin transformed the galleries into a series of environments of luscious colour, onto which he painted his characteristic motifs of tables, chairs and stepladders and also hung paintings, reliefs and wall-mounted sculptures. The artist’s treatment of the banal objects he paints is often so stylised that the works become like abstract paintings.
Craig-Martin became a tutor at Goldsmith’s College from 1974-1988 and 1994-2000 and had a significant influence on two generations of young British artists.
He has had retrospectives at the Irish Museum of Modern Art (2006) and Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria (2006), National Art Centre, Tokyo (2007) and has permanent large-scale installations at Regent’s Place and The Laban Center, both in London. In 2006 he was appointed a Royal Academician. The artists work is currently on display in the Serpentine Gallery, London.