Ann Martin

My images are the result of my personal struggle to accept and find beauty in my immediate world, it means keeping an eye on the past and recognizing the demands of the immediate. Underwriting everything is a need for discovery and inventiveness. I keep my tools simple; colour, eye, hand and surface, because my interest lies in the one painting I am doing, more than the technique or the business of art.

Historically, I get energy from Pieter Bruegel, the Elder. His images recede into the far distance, giving story upon story beautifully told to the observer. One only has to be familiar with his painting of Golgotha or the frail legs of Icarus the moment before they disappear into the sea, to realize what can be achieved pictorially. True to life, a great drama is woven into a context where any event could happen at any time. The unsought gifts of beauty in the mundane balance the tragic. I come from a school of thought that recognizes the grace of simple pleasures and fears the loss of natural contentment. I look for commonality, constancy and find nourishment in who we are. I owe it recognition.

Why look for truth at street level?

At it’s best, street level is an environment where new ideas and voluntary association can happen. The people in our daily lives who live alongside us without concern for our faults or weakness give us, as we give them, a sense of belonging. With acceptance and co-operation of others, we express our opinions unfettered by our status elsewhere. We enjoy a normalcy that is basic to our personal dignity, to our understanding of family and community. Without civility, the sense of place is impossible. Is your name known? Does anyone inquire about your welfare in your absence? Are you secure that you will accomplish your purpose? Interaction at street level is a powerful good. As witness to societies torn apart by hatred and distrust, I believe we all live with a sense of impending loss. Patterns of successful civil relationship are undermined by fear and accelerated economic change. In lifting up situations that are common, I want to declare their complexity and importance. I want to say ‘instead of loss, this can happen’.