Join our mailing list

Martin Grover ‘You Are Here And You Want To Be There’





“A young figurative painter who appears quirky and humorous, then reveals a curious world of psychological drama.” ‘The Guardian’Lou Rawls in Brockwell Park MG

UpDown gallery is delighted to announce its first exhibition by the artist Martin Grover. A former student of the Royal Academy Schools, Martin Grover lives and works in South London. An accomplished painter and printmaker Grover’s art, a reverie of the commonplace, combines a fastidious care and attention for everyday reality with a quirky, whimsical humor and healthy dose of surrealist imagination.

The idea of the title derives from bus stop timetables and maps. At bus stops ‘You Are Here’ is a lovely little motif and statement, white text in a red rectangular box with a little point, indicating and confirming your presence in the world. You are in the middle of a journey or just about to embark on another or near your final destination. ‘Here’ never seems to satisfy we always want to be ‘There’. So I suppose if we could hang a theme on the show as a whole it would be journeys, minor or major, epic or mundane Martin Grover

Working from life, sketches, memory and photographs he reconstructs ephemeral scenes from the passing world. Childhood recollections, minor street incidents, slightly surreal radio traffic bulletins, brief news items, poems, short stories, Brockwell Park landscapes, the enigmatic allure of sheds and shelters are all recalled and captured with clarity and wit. At other times in a more trompe l’oeil style, he produces very flat still lives of old records in their tattered sleeves. Focusing, as he often does, on quirky and uncanny disjunctions it is difficult  to  place  Grover’s  work  with certainty. Just as one senses the influence of the great American realist Edward Hopper one is reminded of the gentle disquiet of a Magritte painting or the carnivalesque vision of Paula Rego or Max Beckmann. This fusion of influence and impact instil the works with an alluring and compelling presence.

“Martin  Grover’s  paintings  of  an  apparently  normal  suburbia,  with  one  or  two  elements  way  out  of  place,  may  bring to   mind   the   work   of   the   surrealist   Rene   Magritte.   But   this   thoroughly   English   artist,   whose   work   also   recalls   the gawky   humor   of   William   Roberts   and   Glen   Baxter,   is   more   gently   disquieting.   His   scenes   of   anticipation,   anxiety, disorder,   and   even   destruction,   painted   in   a   narrow   range   of   rich   colors,   are   tweedy   and   cozy,   dollhouse   disasters. And  yet-­‐-­‐don’t  those  dolls  look  very  like  us?  Aren’t  their  expressions  not  quite  what  the  manufacturer  had  in  mind? The  title  of  Grover’s  delightful  series  of  imaginary  bus  stops-­‐-­‐You  Are  Here  and  You  Want  to  Be  There-­‐-­‐says  it  all.  If we   are   in   the   right   place,  we   are   there   at   the   wrong   time,  or   vice   versa.  But,  through   Grover’s   eyes,   missing   the boat-­‐-­‐or  the  bus-­‐-­‐is  not  an  occasion  to  rage.  Instead,  childlike  clarity  and  mischief  combine  with  sophisticated manipulation   of   space   and   tone   to   highlight   the   gap   between   the   reach   and   the grasp, and to affirm our common humanity.” -­ Rhoda Koenig. 2012 (Rhona Koenig writes regularly for The Independent and The New Statesman)

Martin Grover has been championed by many and is widely collected; his work is in the House of Commons Art Collection, The British Museum and  the  Victoria  and Albert Museum.

To Sum up Martin’s work is quite difficult, I sometimes call him Tri-­‐polar, a new comer to his work might not initially see the connections, but they are there, the humor the music the rhythm in the way he works and paints. When I first saw his work I was sold, quite literally I needed to own his work”. -­‐ Kate Smith,   Director/Curator UpDown

To view the press release as a PDF, please click here:  M.GROVER PRESS Release (KS)
» Go back