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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Martin Mull and Witness at Carl Hammer

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Martin Mull's show entitled Witness opened yesterday at the Carl Hammer Gallery. I would like to start by saying Martin's work isn't the easiest to talk about while trying to be concise, or I just don't have a wide enough vocabulary. Martin Mull has build an entire career examining Americana ideas, ideals, and mistakes. He has regularly challenged and questioned white privilege as well as the American Dream. I think if you were to investigate any part of Mr. Mull's career you would find traces of these challenges and questions. Having said that Witness is no exception.

As America finds itself increasingly in debt, and as its citizenry find themselves increasingly hoodwinked, Martin Mull's career becomes all that much more important to examine how we got here. As part of the baby boomer generation Martin Mull was the target audience for so many Things. He was part of a United States that, although riddled with political and social turmoil, was for the most part wealthy beyond belief. He knew this couldn't last and spoke against it in every aspect of his career, none more so than him as an painter.

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Witness is examining the decline of everything the baby boomers held dear, housing, family, jobs and security. Muted colors help tell the stories and separate both dreams and memories from reality. Paul Klein has said about these works that "photographic compositions have you yearning for a bygone era" and I agree, although I have to add that the compositions also are screaming at you because that era never existed. These paintings are soft and easy on the eyes, but they do present us with a number of questions and it doesn't take long for you to start asking yourself "What the hell is going on?".

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