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MARTY ST.JAMES
"The Invisible Man"

Premiere of video triptych filmed in France, 2007
Bringing together Constable, Wells, Magritte, Beuys 'under one hat'.

7-minute performance/discussion
June 16 @ 4:00PM

"The Invisible Man" on view June 16-July 7

Chelsea Art Museum
Home of the Miotte Foundation
556 West 22nd Street, New York City
212.255.0719

2nd floor gallery
Tuesday through Saturday 12-6, Thursdays until 7:00 PM
FREE with museum admission
Information: Nina Colosi, curator, 646-425-0981

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"…Marty St. James believes that art only matters if the artist has
something important to say, that his or her work is not simply an item
of commercial transaction. His is an Apollonian discourse rather than
a Dionysian one. For him art is a way of thinking in the visual rather
than the making of a heroic statement or precious object. He is in
tune with Bachelard's notion that the embodiment of knowledge exists
in the action of making, rather than in the object of the finished
piece. His intention is to investigate "the stringing together of
moments in frame type form to explore surface and time." Sue Hubbard
Arts Editor The Independent Newspaper, London

"THE INVISIBLE MAN"
Marty St. James
Like a sporting event Time becomes duration, it concerns the Space
that is defended and then occupied, many moments are then Conserved
but finally they become Obselete and faded pictures in the minds of
many. Thus Invisible Man can be seen as occupying all these elements
at once. The 19th century writer H.G.Wells gave form to his invisible
creature by wrapping his head in bandages, a hat and dark glasses. The
key to the experiment was water / liquids and our supposed ´ability´to
see through them. Here the invisibility also has a social, political
and creative activity at the heart of its thinking. But Time Based
Media methods are sort here, in particular actions and movements to
provide other forms, which ideally disappear or like rain transform
into something else often made up of O´s and 1´s.

As with Well´s book, doubt creeps into the mind and produces another
solution or indeed an obvious answer. Like mummification our test and
dilemma is, can we preserve the now or is process the only real
solution the digital age.
Marty St.James, Buenos Aires May, 2007

 

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MARTY ST.JAMES
Somewhere or in Between


January 6 - 26, 2005
THURSDAY, JANUARY 6, 6:00 - 8:00 PM RECEPTION
AN EXHIBITION OF RECENT VIDEO WORKS, DIGITAL PRINTS AND DRAWINGS
IN THE PROJECT ROOM @ CHELSEA ART MUSEUM

SATURDAY, JANUARY 8
2:30 PM - INTRODUCTIONS: MEET-THE-ARTIST
St. James will discuss his work and meet museum visitors.

At 3:00 PM the discussion will continue as St. James is joined by author/artist/new
media theorist, Lev Manovich; Christiane Paul, adjunct new media curator,
Whitney Museum of American Art; Barbara London, curator, video and digital media,
Museum of Modern Art; Sue Hubbard, art critic, Independent Newspaper, London;
Ken Feinstein, artist/professor of experimental video. The discussion is moderated
by Mechthild Schmidt, master teacher, digital communications and media,
McGhee Divison, New York University.

MARTY ST. JAMES, London based fine artist, is a modernist in post-modern clothing.
As an artist his primary medium, along with drawing, is digital technology but his
concerns are firmly rooted in the spiritual and Utopian subtexts of modernism with
its hallmark of self-reflexive thinking.

"This guy's work is dark, yet at the same time he recognizes something in us all
which at the same time we locate and understand within his work, something
fundamentally familiar. In Russia he is described as a visual poet penetrating our
deepest thoughts and asking questions we dare not ask."

In Somewhere Or In Between St. James dares to ask difficult and uncomfortable
questions as to where we as viewers and artists choose to locate ourselves within
contemporary society. The spaces he explores are those balanced stylistically between
figuration and abstraction, between absence and presence, between idealization and cynicism.

For him creativity – in line with Joseph Beuys' legacy – is the purest form of political statement.

Included in the exhibition is the video triptych The Journey of St. Maurin first shown in
Moscow last year at the National Centre for Contemporary Art. The journey is a recurrent
metaphor, the journey as quest, the journey as self-delineation. Through static, figurative
and moving images accompanied by sound the viewer is drawn into a place of spiritual
isolation and entrapment. St. Maurin was a supposed heretic beheaded for his beliefs.
After his death he was said to have returned to his place of worship holding his head in
his hands. This horrific story of martyrdom acts as a metaphor for conviction, for the
strength of belief and underlines that all experience is part of a continuing journey towards
a goal of self-realization. But the journey portrayed here is bleak. Through the kinetic spiral
created by the turning window we leave the enclosed space of an anonymous room to
travel through undisclosed locations, both urban and rural, only to be spun back to a final
frame of empty blackness. No happy resolutions are proffered so that we are invited to
consider Yeats' famous lines:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold

Familyway is a single channel video work. The stillness of Familyway stands both in stylistic
and emotional contrast to the St. Maurin video. The frozen frames embody time at a stand still.
In this work Marty St. James explores ideas that have seduced him in the writing of Sartre; how
time separates the self from the self, from the self as it once was, from what we wish to be,
from desires, from things, from others. Yet in this stillness, in the conjoined image of a family
where the members reach out one to another, there exists a contradiction, a seed of hope,
a way forward out of the postmodern swamp of indifference, out of a universe dominated by
narcissism and commodity.

Sue Hubbard The Independent Newspaper London

Produced in cooperation with the Program in Performance and Interactive Media Arts,
Brooklyn College, John J. A. Jannone, Director.

Biography

Marty St. James is a London, UK based artist born in Birmingham,
England. St. James studied at Bournville School of Art and Cardiff
College of Art under the directorship of the innovative art educator
Tom Hudson. He has concentrated on Performance Art, Video and
Installation Art (time based-media) and digital works since the
1980's. During the 80's and 90's he undertook major Performance art
and video tours of Britain, Europe and North America.

St. James made his first video art work by appearing as a fictitious
contestant on the TV quiz game Mr. and Mrs. His video art works have
been shown and broadcast worldwide in galleries, festivals and on
network television, including TimeCode and Hotel produced by Channel
Four television. St. James invented the art term Video Portraits
exhibiting the 11 channel video portrait of the Olympic gold medalist.

The Swimmer and two others commissioned by the National Portrait
Gallery in London in 1991 all of which are in the collection. He has
completed Residencies at Kunstakademiet, Trondheim, Norway (1993); 101
Gallery Ottawa, Canada (1994): Banff Centre For The Arts (1999),
Canada and with the Kolodzei Foundation in Moscow (2003). In 2000 he
traveled around the world in researching his artwork including North
America and the Australian outback. St. James represented UK in
British Council Shows including Metropolitan Museum of Photography in
Tokyo (1998) and Contemporary Art Museum, Nagoya (1995). Forty of his
video works have been archived for the UK by the British Film
Institute. The National Portrait Gallery selected St. James's video
portrait Boy/Girl Video diptych to represent the year 2000 in its
millennium exhibition 101 Portrait Masterpieces of the Twentieth
Century alongside major works by Picasso, Bacon, Warhol, Freud,
Warhol, and others. In 2003 he had a one-person show at the National
Contemporary Arts Centre in Moscow.

Artist's websites: martystjames.com and stjamesart.freeserve.co.uk

Both events are FREE with museum admission.