Martin Mull (R.I.S.D. MFA ’67) reflects: “My work is all about tensions: between colors, textures and edges, between figures and symbols.” Mull’s talent is rooted in observation and comparison, stitched together into a collage of images appropriated from the media of his youth. By exclusively using the iconography of a collective national memory, Mull locates his narrative in the universal, not the personal. He does not make paintings about current events. His paintings reflect the disparate and cacophonous nature of the human condition; any parallels that emerge between his paintings and recent headlines exist in the mind of the viewer, drawn from their own experiences and selectively recognized in Mull’s compositions.
Whether rendered in graphite on paper or oil on linen, Mull uses slight of hand and turn of phrase to draw his audience in while dancing the weightier issues right out into the open. The Edge of Town is where colors shift and cultures blend, where unfamiliar scenes join up in a patchwork community. Conflict, resolution and growth are only found where differences meet, when comparisons arise, at the borders, at the edges.
Martin Mull (b. Chicago, 1943) lives and works in Los Angeles. Raised in Ohio, Mull received his BFA in 1965 followed by an MFA in 1967 from the Rhode Island School of Design. Having exhibited extensively over his thirty year career, Mull’s work is held in the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Orange County Museum of Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Whitney Museum of Art, New York and the Total Contemporary Art Museum, Seoul, the Hallmark Collection and the Yale University Art Gallery amongst others.