Posted from The Citrus Report
This Mortal Soil
The fragility of life is omnipresent but is also the elephant in the room even if we are alone in the room. The average person does not dwell on this looming outcome; this is not to say the thought is ever very far away in our thoughts.
I was recently introduced to the documentary “Flight From Death” which outlines humans endless drive to distract themselves from the reality of death, and out of this pursuit rose Cultures; Literature, Music, and Art. Since the very creation of these
distractions humans have used them to address the very thing they were intended to distract us from; Death.
Martin Wittfooth’s newest body of work, Gardens, is no exception to this catch-22.
Influenced by classic painters such as Jan Van Huysum, J W Waterhouse, Albert Bierstadt, and Arnold Böcklin. Witfooth draws from the same well as contemporary painter Walton Ford, whom also paints in an old world style referencing field paintings while introducing dark surrealism.
Humans are the only creatures on the planet that fear for the past and the future, which I feel is relative in the Wittfooth’s paintings. Combining classic European sensibilities in technique with modern darkness, Gardens gracefully presents the cycle of life in an apparent manner while a strong under current exists that hints at our inevitable destruction due to the global climate changes that persist. Red Soil depicts a scene of beautiful red flowers rising out of the exposed rip cage of a dead wolf lying across a city sidewalk as a storm drain catches the draining blood ushering it to the ocean. While Bacchus gives us an intimidating gaze from a Baboon whose skull seems to be bursting with grapevines that are feeding perched birds, a glass cylinder is held in his left hand which we assume is oil from the tin sitting to his right labeled “Capital Motor Oil” coupled with an ominous red drop icon.
The cause and effect of civilization and industrialization is a common thread in Wittfooth’s paintings. When I interviewed him for this feature I asked if he considered himself an environmentalist or was he merely forecasting realism and he responded by
“Besides being as personally conscientious of environmental concerns as I can in my daily life, I’m not an active environmentalist, but I do attempt to trigger a reaction to a broad range of related issues under that banner through my work. That said, though, I don’t aspire to make my work exclusively about that, or about gloomy forecasts. It’s just that environmental topics interest and disturbs me in a way that usually find their way into my work, and I hope to be able to in my own way contribute to the dialogue of awareness and the collective shedding of ignorance.”
Posted By The Citrus Report