The Estate of the Artist
Annely Juda Fine Art, London, where acquired by the present owner in May 2005
'The constructions such as I seek to make are based on implications of movement and infinity by positive and negative means'.
Mary Martin, statement in Structure, Amsterdam, 1962.
Mary Martin followed her first abstract painting in 1950 with her first experiment in three-dimensional abstraction when she made Columbarium (Estate of the Artist) in 1951, the same year that her husband Kenneth Martin had made his first mobile sculpture. He described the inspiration for their move to abstraction that year,
'I spent a day at the East End home of Nigel Henderson... Eduardo Paolozzi was there and we went to his studio nearby. Told me about killed plaster - gave me some aluminium and said "Make a mobile Kenneth." Told Mary all about this. Mary made Columbarium in a baking tin as instructed, and never looked back.' (Kenneth Martin quoted in Alistair Grieve, op.cit., p.91).
Throughout the 1950s and into the 1960s Mary Martin produced a coherent body of works that used proportional and mathematical systems, such as the Fibonacci series, as their underlying basis. She utilised industrially produced materials such as perspex, plaster, Formica and stainless steel and began to incorporate bright colour from the mid 1950s. The 'Perspex Group' series, to which the present work belongs, produced in the last year of her life, relies most heavily on the concept of the machine-made element.
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