Marta’s studio is located in a renovated live/work loft space in Kreuzberg that she shares with her music producer partner and their two and a half year old son. Marta moved to Berlin four years ago after living in London for eleven years and before that Madrid, Spain.
Marta describes herself as a ‘painterly painter’ and rightly so. Her paintings that are mostly large scale, honor the visible presence of the hand. Using tape and brushes with acrylic paint, she creates layered all over compositions that resonate in flatness and depth revealing the active process of adding and subtracting.
After climbing up two flights of an external spiral staircase located in the first hof/courtyard of the building, I arrived somewhat precariously through the back entry of her place that was the bathroom. She led me through a hallway stacked with wrapped canvases and sat me down at her kitchen table. While she made a pot of green tea, she began to talk energetically about her history, process and ideas. It came as no surprise to me this energy translates directly into her work. We first met at a party a mutual friend hosted where wild dancing ensued after a very elegant dinner. If not the leader of this outcome, Marta was certainly a vibrant source of being the ‘life of the party’. And she does like to party. Having a partner who is a music and events producer for a music label, they both get to experience the great club scene that Berlin has to offer on a regular basis.
There is a rhythm and movement visible in all her paintings that is indeed painterly, but most definitely musical. After seeing her work on her website, I knew I had to see them in person. Clearly inspired by the work of Morris Louis and Gene Davis of the Washington Color School, her paintings are bright and geometric and for me, was a nice surprise to see in the context of the Berlin contemporary art scene that is dominated by an aesthetic that all too often makes reference to the work of Gerhard Richter, Neo Rauch and in general to the German Expressionist movement. While I love both aforementioned artists and am intrigued how contemporary artists appropriate and distill them in their own language, I also appreciate artists who can respond to the status quo. I don’t think Marta is consciously doing this and perhaps why I enjoy her work even more. They exist happily on their own in an entirely different context. I am particularly interested in the imperfections of her taping and I like the intention of using tape to create the imperfect line, while using her hand in an attempt to create that perfect hard edge — which is the opposite of how most artists approach the use of the tape opposed to the brush and hand. The work is deft and based on geometric systems of language.
She specifically points out philosopher Giordoano Bruno and his book Geometry of Language and Martin Heidegger’s On the Way to Language as inspirational texts to her Iki series. Marta’s Iki (which means the nature of art in Japanese) series is a body of work that includes words such as ‘light’, ‘physical’ and ‘spritiual’, all words that are connected to the painting process as well as to the human condition. Her current body of work has moved away from linguistics and is titled Now or Never. The imperative in this title series is certainly indicative of her drive to be in the present moment. While she has been curated into a few group shows since moving to Berlin, she is actively seeking out opportunities for solo exhibitions and gallery representation.
Marta clearly is committed to her vision and practice and I personally am looking forward to watching her development — and in the meantime maybe join her in one of her clubbing escapades. (That’s a big maybe).
Marta earned her masters degree from the Royal College of Art in London. She is represented by Riflemaker in London and Galeria Moriarty in Madrid. To see and learn more about Marta’s work, go to her website: www.martamarce.com