Eugene Martin: The Creative Act – An Exhibition from the LSU Museum of Art

The Paul R. Jones Museum is pleased to present “Eugene Martin: The Creative Act – An Exhibition from the LSU Museum of Art,” from March 1 through May 3, 2024. The public is invited to a reception during Tuscaloosa’s First Friday Art Walk on April 5, 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. 

Born in Washington, D.C., Eugene James Martin (1938-2005) dedicated his life to living and working as a full-time artist, creating a body of work defined by distinct stylistic periods, ranging from black and white ink drawings to colorful acrylic paintings and collages. Throughout these styles, Martin’s hand is distinct and present. A mixture of organic forms, geometric shapes and even architectural worlds make up Martin’s universe of figures and creatures.

Though often hinting at figures and familiar forms, Martin’s abstractions offer delights of color free from time and place. His whimsical collages and mixed media works filled with color and expression speak to the surrealist concept of automatism, created strictly by feel and through his unconscious. This exhibition showcases his process of creating art from within that signifies the moment each work was made.

Highlighted in the exhibition are Martin’s unparalleled collages, which feature pieces or photographs of previously completed works. This form of artistic cannibalism represents an artist’s practice which was never static and always learning. Also featured are Martin’s circle drawings, a product of setting his limitations on composition—just to see what he could do. Working only from within, Martin straddles styles and does not answer to any outside influence. Rather, his works satisfy the impulse simply to create.

Martin took courses at the Corcoran School of Art from 1960-1963, and lived in D.C., North Carolina, and spent the last decade of his life in Louisiana. Before his death, he held many solo exhibitions including at Duke University; Horace Williams House, Chapel Hill, NC; Michel Rooryk Gallery, Ghent, Belgium; and Municipal Gallery, Washington, D.C. After his death, Martin’s work has been exhibited around the US, such as the Stowitts Museum, Pacific Grove, California; Shaw Center for the Arts, Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Walter Anderson Museum of Art, Ocean Springs, Mississippi; as well as in galleries in Brussels, Belgium, and Paris, France. Martin’s works are in numerous collections such as the High Museum of Art, Ogden Museum of Southern Art, Schomburg Center for Black Culture, and Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art.

This exhibition is sponsored by the LSU Museum of Art; all work in this exhibition is part of their permanent collection. This is part two of an exhibition exchange series between the Paul R. Jones Museum of Art and the LSU Museum of Art.