The Art of Vladimir Martynov

  As we wake up the year is 2009. The world has evolved: Science and technology certainly has. And so has philosophy: The great thinkers have risen above the socio-political turmoil that has plagued our world for centuries. Beyond mankind's inhumanity to man, greed has always found its way of destroying peaceful settlements where all people really want to do is live a life that has hope and joy. It is not to exist in a hostile environment. There is only one sector of humanity that continues to forge ahead under all sorts of duress, which the quest in the advancement of higher thought illustrating man's current state. That person we all know: is the ARTIST. 
  It has taken the world thirty years to understand the early developments and concepts of Electronic Art that I brought forward when I was just a teenager: Understanding that DIGITAL ART was going to be the future voice of creators. Few understood, few embraced it, and many dismissed. One can make the same analogy to fossil fuel: People are just used to the same methodology because it is predictable. That prediction turns into extinction. It is the same for ART. The only way to move ahead is to confront our ability to communicate in the electronic genre. Nam June Paik in 1968 said, "Paper is useless...except for toilet paper." He was both humorous and brilliant. How true those words are forty one years later. There are a handful of people who guide the rest of the universe to their future and shape its destiny.
  Vladimir Martynov has understood that vision. He is an ARTIST who has sought clarity. In doing so he has followed art history, and has come up with his own visual language in pushing the direction of ART. What makes this possible is his ability to appreciate what was before him. He follows the interplay of color as Josef Albers did: juxtaposing one color field upon another. The work can also be traced back to Mark Rothko with the same condition of color interaction. Lastly Martynov takes a more formal approach like Al Held: directing colors so the eye moves with the higher activity of color transformation. I reference Sol LeWitt in terms of taking a room and painting it perfectly as his environment at the Tate Modern (Six Geometric Figures 1980-1981). 
  Martynov has taken all the above historical references and "de-constructed" the ideology to come away with his own artistic principles. I therefore birth the term "COLOR TIME." With the ease of not having to physically paint each and every mark, it is possible to create almost a "totem testament" to all art of the past. "Project Multimedia Installation -2004" combines Albers sense of color on color, as well as Donald Judd's minimal light sculptures into a work that demands contemplation. The Digital Age allows an artist to do far more than ever before, and thus it has the responsibility of pushing the limits. Where as artist would labor moving from one artistic method to another, here Martynov can experiment with digital prints to multimedia, video installation work. The complexity of detail such as his "Project Installation Red Room - 2004" creates a world that is unfamiliar to the natural one, but it could be possible to put into reality. COLOR TIME again makes one feel that they are transcending from one space into another, experiencing all the forms and textures that are artificial but feel real. In a sense Martynov creates a "Hyper Realism" and completely opposes his own national history while still paying homage. You can definitely see references to his Russian roots. His "Project Expossition-2004" with its lines and movements goes back to Vladimir Tatlin, Alexander Rodchenko, El Lissitzky and Kasimir Malevich: the prime movers of Russian Constructivism. 
Can it be possible that an artist can refer back to all the artists mentioned in this essay and still have his own personal identity? The answer is: "Of course he can." It is now the Digital Age where the skilled mind, the quick thinking, and the creatively empowered creator can work in a diligent manner to achieve final objectives. This is the time when the digital media can flourish, where the comprehensive understanding of past and present can fuse to make new artistic examples.
  Martynov's work shines within the new Digital Art evolution. It is not the beginning, but more importantly it is his stand alone voice to express his distinctiveness. My favorite work of Martynov's is titled, "Project Expossition -2004" It is a work that is a pseudo environment. It appears to be an "old/new" functional/operational computer systems environment that mimics the past, but could be of the future. The room and its space is unfamiliar, beckoning me to believe this is of "things to come." It signals that this is "our future." Martynov quest is to lead all of us to the next harmonic in man's human condition. His art all rolls back to the beginning and comes full circle. I think of actress Jodie Foster in "Contact" going through her space travel time machine. Clearly Martynov's work is just that. An indication of where we are all going...

Laurence M. Gartel
Digital Media Artist
Boca Raton, Florida
January 10, 2009