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'Before Vermeer's Clouds', Martin Greenland

Oil on canvas, 121.5 x 152.5cm, 2006

Artist's statement

It’s a perfectly levelling thing to do, exploring landscape both real, as on a walk, or by completely inventing it - exploring the illusion of landscape made by the tactile breadth of oil paint.  The first instance is about absorption, meditation, analysis, the second about realisation, connection, revelation - a show of things more or less understood. 

Completely inventing is an obsession but not a chore. It may seem futile to make the works seem as though they have been observed or taken from photographs, but inventing gives the work reason for existence - what is shown exists only in this painted illusion.  It’s a deeply satisfying thing to do and oil on canvas is still the broadest, most perfect vehicle for this. 

'Before Vermeer's Clouds' is unusual in that it contains necessarily a copied element, namely the sky from 'A View of Delft', a work that has fascinated me for thirty years. Originally to be titled 'A Vision of Heaven', my painting had to have the same appearance of stability and unhurried peace as Vermeer’s, and incorporate as many elements of the stable or perpetual as could be organised. For me it should be an embodiment of stability but also intrigue.



Read a transcript of this interview


Martin Greenland was born in Marsden, Yorkshire in 1962. He studied at Nelson and Colne College Lancashire 1979-81 and Exeter College of Art 1982-85. His work has been included in exhibitions at the Piccadilly Gallery (Cork Street) London 1997, Ainscough Gallery Liverpool 1998, Huddersfield Art Gallery 1999 and Piccadilly Gallery (Dover Street) London 2000. He was awarded the GCI Financial Purchase Prize in The Discerning Eye Mall Galleries London 2000. He exhibited in John Moores 16 1989, John Moores 17 1991, John Moores 18 1993 and John Moores 19 1995.

Visit Martin Greenland's website.