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Meet the peeps: Martin Greenland - artist

The Cumbria-based winner of the John Moores Painting Prize in 2006, is back here with New Fiction. Here he spills the beans....

Published on October 6th 2010.


Meet the peeps: Martin Greenland - artist

So, after winning the John Moores Painting Prize in 2006, you have returned to Liverpool.

“Yes, I find a great kinship in the city; so many people I have met have become good friends.

Art has dived headlong into a sort of international soup, full of self-reference and cynicism, almost empty of humanism

"I have sometimes thought of using Liverpool as a starting point in my painting. As we speak, this may not be far off.

What part are you playing in the Biennial?
"I don’t know how I fit within it. I am with the Independents and so I consider myself to be an outsider. I live and work in relative isolation and cannot regard myself as an urbanite at all: unlike most artists I have never lived or worked in a city of any size. I was the only artist to win the John Moores Prize who has never lived, worked or trained in London.

You are a bit of a country boy then, living up in the Lakes? How does that affect your work?

“This isolation makes my work quite different. I feel comfortable in a rural environment, from which derives most of my inspiration; the depth and meaning and solace informs my painting. I don’t regard myself as a naturalist, but I understand the language of the land and landscape, and that the rural and the urban collide and blur in fascinating ways."

What’s new?
"Earlier this year, I was asked by Jason Jones at Cornerstone Gallery to do this show. Previously I have had four solo exhibitions in Liverpool and have been represented at the John Moores Exhibition of Contemporary Painting five times, which I won in 2006. The work in the show comes from the past four years, including pieces only just completed as the show begins. “New Fiction” has a literary reference which I like."

Picture by Minako Jackson

Tell us about your work?
"Increasingly my paintings have become improvisations, with scant or no reference either to drawings I produce or ideas for compositions, to nail down spontaneous thoughts or images. This is because I need to invent, make changes, and not be tied down by actualities. But I want the viewer to be convinced by what I do whilst knowing it is fictional, but I have to come out and say ‘I am a landscape painter’, with pride."

"This is one of the many aspects where painting and photography differ. One does not look as Monet’s summer afternoon meadows and see a snapshot, but an accumulation of slowly moving hours, even days."

What floats your boat?
"I am inspired by everything. The roots of some pieces in this show lie in childhood memories; some are a late response to an area of northern England which held my emotions as a young teenager in the 1970s, growing up in Yorkshire, and enables me, through my art, to be honest about my emotions. So much of contemporary life has become dry, knowing and post-modern; art has dived headlong into a sort of international soup, full of self-reference and cynicism, almost empty of humanism. If my approach is old-fashioned I don’t care."

*New Fiction runs intil 12th November 2010 at Cornerstone Gallery, 17 Shaw St, Liverpool L6 1HP. Tel: 0151 291 3997. Web: www.hope.ac.uk Opens: 9am - 5pm Monday - Friday.

Martin Greenland is also exhibiting in South Korea in a joint show involving past prize winners of the John Moores Prize. At the end of November he exhibits at Art Space Gallery / Michael Richardson Contemporary Art in Islington, London.

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Stanley StreetOctober 5th 2010.

"Peeps" is not only childish and irksome, it originated in the unfunny Harry Enfield's unfunny and racist portrayal of a Greek gentleman to get cheap laughs off hysterical morons.

Was this column not once called 'Meet the People'? What was wrong with that?

DavrosOctober 5th 2010.

Das a bit harsh innit matey? You wanna chilli out a bit or I'll set the flippin' Daleks on ya en I?

EditorialOctober 5th 2010.

Soz, Stanna...

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