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Selected Works (1984 – 2015)
22 March – 01 May 2016
The Naughton Gallery is delighted to host a solo exhibition of selected works by established Belfast-based artist Martin Wedge. Representing over thirty years of the artist’s prolific career, the exhibition features work from prestigious collections including that of the Arts Council of Ireland, Ulster University, and The Bar of Northern Ireland.
Wedge’s work is in the tradition of Expressionism, with its roots in Art Brut and the work of Soutine, Schiele, De Kooning, Jorn, and the mythological work of Max Beckmann. Often alienating the viewer, his forms are viscerally grotesque, condemned and timeless, with a Beckettian black humour. Powerful composition and the skill of the maker, however, betray a sensitivity to these sublime mutations, and an equally visceral compassion for the human condition.
Throughout his career, Wedge’s main themes have been the human body and the human being, sometimes interconnected with genetic anomalies – both psychological and physical mutations – which can come about through social pressure and/or genetic predisposition. Wedge employs an intuitive simultaneity; the idea of hybrid forms or a pool of diverse sources (mélange) that are unified and distilled through a painterly language.
In the artist’s own words, “The point is an expansive visualisation, something that might force the viewer out of conditioned responses or a comforting normalization. Entertainment keeps you in your comfort zone, art takes you out of it.”
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Martin Wedge (b. Belfast, 1958) completed his MA in Fine Art at the University of Ulster in 1982. In 1985, he received an award from the Arts Council of Ireland to study with Sandro Chia in New York for six months. He was also the recipient of the MoMA PS1 Fellowship from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland (1996-97).
Wedge has had solo exhibitions at the Fenderesky Gallery, Belfast, the Kerlin Gallery, Dublin, and Triskel Arts Centre, Cork, and his work has been shown in group exhibitions in Glasgow, Liverpool, Finland, Amsterdam, London, New York, and Sheffield. Wedge’s portrait of Professor Frank Pantridge - inventor of the portable defibrillator - is part of the Queen’s University Collection and currently hangs in the Great Hall.