Pattern Math is Heather Gwen Martin’s third solo exhibition with the gallery and continues her exploration of abstraction in painting. Martin’s work eschews conceptual strategies in favor of a very personal and intuitive approach that allows for a broad reading and interpretation. Thoughtful and straightforward, it combines a near-scientific sense of control over a number of formal and organic elements that direct the viewer onto multiple paths of experience. Her paintings can be seen to function as experimental fields—dynamic, spatial environments where energies and forces from the real world and the otherly imagined are brought into play, imposing upon and affecting one another. These forces are not necessarily measureable or quantifiable; rather they enliven the field through a complex matrix of factors: bold colors animate closely shifting hues and values; fluid, sinuous lines expand and contract in and out of intumescent shapes, bending space and creating precisely sculpted forms.
Numerous layers of finely applied paint conceal and reveal, leaving ghostly, fragmentary traces and producing residual effects that challenge the eye and the mind.
Since first taking advantage of UCSD’s renowned cognitive studies program as a student, Martin continues to be interested in how we respond to stimuli and different interfaces in the world. “This particular interest in perception and visual processing,” says Martin, “points to a focused concern on the understanding of abstraction, relating to composition with the nuance of shapes and relationships between forms that leads to making connections and associations from within the painting itself or from external influences. As the responses to my paintings reverberate from real and imagined instances where disparate forces come together for but brief moments, they function as a means of communication and an experience in physical reality not obstructed, altered, or interrupted by technology and artificial/non-physical interaction.”