Virginia Martinsen’s paintings are the result of pours of gesso, oil paint, linseed oil and traditional painting mediums onto raw canvases and wood panels. By exploiting the intrinsic properties of paint, her work explores the physicality of the mediums used to create a painting; as opposed to mediums that are implements used to create an image. The titles of her works often reference atheistic philosophy, providing commentary on both the role of the artist and the function of art in contemporary society. Martinsen’s work deconstructs both the painting process and the concept of painting.
Working in a time sensitive and purist manner with a color palette almost exclusively of black and white, Virginia’s pours are left to separate, solidify and develop over time, both in and out of the studio. Working without the use of paintbrushes, she relies on gravity to help form the shape of her work. By pouring the materials from above onto canvases that have been positioned horizontally on the floor, she allows streams of thinned paint to travel across the surfaces of the paintings leaving behind sedimentary lines of pigment as the canvas gives way to their weight, creating pools of mediums or dripping off the sides of the canvas. Allowing thick deposits of paint to harden and crack, pools of linseed oil to wrinkle and darken, her paintings often take months to dry and will continue to evolve after they are dry to the touch.
Originally from New Orleans, Virginia currently lives and works in New York City and has exhibited with ATM Gallery. Her works have been included in exhibitions in New York, Los Angeles and Houston and reviwed by publications such as ARTnews and the Village Voice.
b. 1980, New Orleans, LA
lives and works in New York, NY
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Rachel Lee Hovnanian, Leila Heller Gallery, September 2014
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