Cameron Martin
May 7, 2023

Complete playlist below; tracks in yellow were cut for time.

  1. Labor Leisure, Stuck, 2021
  2. Blanket, Autolux, 2004
  3. Oscillator, Satisfact, 1996
  4. Useful, United Schach Corporation, 1999
  5. Submission, Dumb, 2019
  6. Frustration, Programmique, 2021
  7. Modern Romance, The Rapture, 2001
  8. Mr Your On Fire Mr, Liars, 2001 
  9. Ruling, LIIEK, 2020
  10. No Light, Meat Wave, 2017
  11. Get Off, Metz, 2012
  12. Blind, Smirk, 2021
  13. Falling Down, RAS, 2009
  14. Willing, Deeper, 2020
  15. Thought, Blessed, 2019
  16. Rana, Pitchfork, 1990
  17. Beat Fall, Lithics, 2020
  18. Blankenship, DIIV, 2019
  19. RyBro, Helvetia, 2012 
  20. Imagine Hearts, Ringo Deathstarr, 2011
  21. Wisdom, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, 1995
  22. Honey Power, My Bloody Valentine, 1991
  23. Little Judas Change, Melvins, 2002

I first encountered Cameron Martin’s work almost 20 years ago. At the time, he was making subtle, elegant, paintings of natural formations, from tightly-cropped clusters of boulders sloping into the sea to stark Fuji-style depictions of a mountain (Mount Rainier?) rendered in dark bruise-purples. From there his work has developed into a focused exploration of pure abstraction drawing upon histories of art and design, as well as the visual background noise that surrounds us in our printed, built, and digital environments.

Lately, Cameron has been making a series of post-punk/new wave playlists called Easy Listening for Rockers composed of music from his youth through today. It should come as no surprise that as soon as I started listening to them I wanted to have Cameron on the show. And boy, does he deliver—giving us a pugnacious mixtape featuring Meat Wave and other great and lesser-known bands!

Martin talks about growing up in Seattle in the 80’s and early 90’s during the efflorescence of the alt-rock and nascent grunge scenes. He talks about his deeply satisfying stint as a child laborer at the iconic music store/skate shop/venue Fallout, and the amazing people he met there. Fallout also sponsored his own skating career, and Martin describes the reality of being a skater in Cascadia (too much rain to skate outside) and how it led to the development of his own freestyle skating technique. It was probably impossible to grow up in that kind of environment and not start your own bands, and fortunately for us Cameron shares some music he made when he was young (United Shach Corporation) and some music made with a group of artists and friends with whom he continues to play (RAS). Cameron now plays with his 11-year old son in a band called Headache—keep your eyes peeled for flyers.

This is a great show! Check out Easy Listening for Rockers here, and follow his wild abstraction hunting on instagram.

Cameron Martin’s work seeks to redress the role of contemporary abstraction, situating the abstract as a site of potential, a self-consciously generative force that enlivens fictive possibility. Metabolizing histories of expression, appropriation and current digital platforms, the work seeks to blur the line between the mechanical and the handmade in an effort to dismantle categorical distinctions At once of this moment and historically aware, Martin’s paintings address framing and interface as fundamental to images’ interpelletive function, utilizing transparency, patterning and optical phenomena to asymptotically approach representational possibilities.

Born in Seattle, WA in 1970, Martin received his BA in Art/Semiotics from Brown University and continued his studies at the Whitney Independent Study Program. He has exhibited at venues including the Whitney Museum, St Louis Art Museum, Columbus Museum of Art, City Gallery (Wellington, New Zealand), and Tel Aviv Museum. His work is in the collections of the Whitney Museum, New York; Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Minneapolis Institute of Art, MN; and Saint Louis Art Museum, MO, among others. Martin is a recipient of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (2010), the Joan Mitchell Foundation Fellowship (2008), and the Artists at Giverny Fellowship and Residency (2001).

Cameron is represented by Sikkema Jenkins & Co.