Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Exhibition poster
I am biased of course - I married a very talented artist and obviously have every intention of supporting his endeavours in finding and developing his unique artistic expression. We're both middle aged and so don't have the advantages of youth, however we hope (and believe) that this is compensated by maturity of vision. 

Martin Herbert, my husband, has been working on a drawing project with the help of an Arts Council grant for the past six months, and is now showing what he's created to date at the Radnorshire Museum and Gallery in Llandrindod Wells until January the 12th. You can follow his progress here on his blog Artedstates. After a short and well deserved break he will continue to work on the project and will present the sum total of his work at MOMA Wales (Machynlleth) in April - May 2013.

Project Synthesis is an exploration of the relationship between digital 'new media' and traditional painting and drawing. Martin has taken organic and mechanical constructions made with 3D fractal modelling software and made them into large-scale drawings done with the most traditional of materials, sepia ink and clay pencils, indistinguishable from those used by Renaissance artists like Leonardo Da Vinci. He also takes public domain texts from the internet and uses them as the basis for new illustrated books done with the same attention to traditional craftsmanship. Lastly, there is a video installation with a computer-generated soundtrack showing some of the digital work which inspired the drawings – making a true mix of the oldest and newest media available to the artist.

As the multi-talented "Renaissance" man Martin is, he also created a video with older digital work called "Unlikely realms" to go with the drawings. These digital explorations was the starting point for his application to the Arts Council.

The grant was meant to help further Martin's career and so he's been experimenting in order to perfect his technique and visual expression. Some of the work in the current exhibition are images he wanted to do independently but most of them are illustrations for the lovely symbolic book The Crock of Gold by James Stephens. Incidentally, I was the one who introduced him to it, quite an odd thing really since it's an Irish tale - a fairy tale for adults. I read it when I was 18 and loved the spiritual message. This year also happens to be the centenary of the book. 

"The Heart is the Fountain of Wisdom" : 90 cm x 70 cm:
Ink, pencil, gouache & transfer print on handmade Khadi paper.

Copyright © 2012 by Martin Herbert

Martin says: This project has two distinct strands with one theme in common – they both concern the reconciliation between digital 'new media' and traditional drawing and painting techniques.  My goal is to explore ways in which computers and the internet can be used to source material which inspires illustrations and innovative new work to be carried out using traditional materials and techniques.
The first strand concerns the production of new organisms, machines and organic constructs using 3D computer modelling technology, which I then use as inspiration for new drawings done using the earthiest and most organic of materials – sepia ink, clay pencils, earth pigments etc.

The second strand involves sourcing written material from the internet - I am using these texts as the basis for new illustrated editions of neglected or beloved books which have now passed into the public domain through expiry of copyright and are now available to anyone who cares to download them from web archives.  The illustrated editions will then be uploaded back to the internet, completing the cycle.  The first book to receive this treatment is Irish author James Stephen's 'fairy tale for grown ups', The Crock of Gold. The illustrations are a work in progress, leading up to publication of a new illustrated edition in 2013.

Find Martin on Facebook!

Photographs from the private view:

Last minute preparations.
Will Adams is the director of Radnorshire Museum and Gallery.

Most of these drawings are illustrations for The Crock of Gold.
Martin made the wonderful frames himself.
Martin is talking to artist Sue Purcell 
The hungry artist strikes again... myself gobbling some nibbles.
I was in the middle of a terrible cold which paused itself for the private view
and then restarted as soon as we were back home.
If all goes well, I might be able to have an exhibition here myself, in 2014.

"Design for a Flying Machine to Escape the Bank Manager": 70 x 50 cm :
Ink, chalk, gouache & transfer printing on handmade paper : Copyright © 2012 by Martin Herbert
View from the window at Radnorshire Museum; Llandrindod Wells is a historic spa town
with a lot of beautiful Victorian hotels.

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