The work of Dutch artist Daniel Martin (born 1982) is mainly about defiled faces with unsettling expressions. He creates portraits that seem to have been deliberately damaged after being painted.
Daniel executes his art with a cultivated spontaneity. He finds inspiration in imperfections, for example, a misshapen tree, a ratio affected by chaos. He writes in his statement that the “violation of appearance is anonymous and sidelines the individual’s identity and character, and it makes the faces dissolve or return in nature’s chaos”.
The portraits disturb the viewer but they tend to be valuable in the sense that they give space to deformity and deficiency, and see some kind of worth in it. In the middle of a popular culture that always elevates physical clarity and symmetry and wholeness and completion, these paintings create a slot for the contemplation of that which is unfinished and in the process of finding itself.
Daniel lives and works in Leiden. He was educated at Mix Academy, Amsterdam and Vrije Academie, the Hague. He left the computer graphics industry in 2013 to fully commit himself to art. Lately, he has exhibited at the Affordable Art Fair (Amsterdam), Leidse lente and Artroute (Leiden), and Van Schaik and Van Schaik (Zeist).
The artist spent the summer of 2017 in the Palazzo Monti Residency Program where he had the opportunity to dive into research and pave the way for future work through the series “Elements”. This collection is based on found or made objects that include fabric, metal, stone, pasta, clay, carpet, rope and plastic. These objects formed part of a study on natural shapes and the impermanence of matter—a way to find coherence between objects that are unrelated but can act in a similar way.
Daniel explains: “Deformation of the objects lets them fall into a new shape, modified by combination, or by applied force such as burning, submerging in water, twisting and crushing. This applied force makes the objects leave their original context and take on characteristics of other materials because of the underlying structure. Cloth becomes skin, stone becomes bone. There is a recurrence of patterns in nature on large and small scales.”
Images used with permission.