Show Preview | Martin Grelle

Scottsdale, AZ
Legacy Gallery, November 11-18

Martin Grelle, Chasing Thunder, oil, 46 x 54.

Martin Grelle, Chasing Thunder, oil, 46 x 54.

This story was featured in the November 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art November 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

Twenty new oil and acrylic paintings by Texas artist Martin Grelle premiere this month in his first solo show at Legacy Gallery in Scottsdale, AZ. Titled Bound by Heart and Paint, the highly anticipated exhibition—Grelle’s largest one-man show in 15 years—opens on Saturday, November 11, with an artist’s reception at 5 p.m. Most of the paintings are sold by draw, but several pieces are up for sale in a live auction beginning at 6:30 p.m. “It’s amazing to see the interest Martin’s work creates—people really love it,” says gallery owner Brad Richardson. “With this large body of work, he’s enjoyed the opportunity to portray some unique subject matter that collectors haven’t seen before.”

While the bulk of the show features the large-scale Native American figurative works for which Grelle is well known, many of these pieces present narratives he has tackled for the first time in his 44-year career. Among them is the artist’s tour de force CHASING THUNDER, a complex, high-octane
scene of a horse-mounted buffalo hunt—a subject he has wanted to portray for years, says Grelle. In a very different, intimate painting that inspired the show’s title, he depicts the unspoken bond between a warrior and his wife during a sacred painting ritual. “I wanted this show to be really special and dig into ideas I’d been putting off,” he says. “At this point, it’s the best body of work I’ve put together in my career.”

Grelle works out of his studio in the Meridian Creek Valley near Clifton, TX, where he was born and raised, but he frequently travels to ranches and historical re-enactments throughout the West to observe and photograph subject matter. He has been known to reference as many as 50 photos for a single painting, weaving desirable elements from each image into a convincing and cohesive scene on his canvas. “The colors, values, lighting—all of it has to work together when you’re pooling all these references to portray one moment, so it gets a little complicated sometimes,” he chuckles.

A primarily self-taught painter, Grelle was mentored by cowboy artist James Boren as a teenager in the early 1970s. He booked his first one-man show within a year of graduating from high school, and some 30 more solo shows and copious top honors have followed since then. In 1995, he was inducted into the esteemed Cowboy Artists of America, and he has twice won the coveted purchase award at the prestigious Prix de West Invitational. His journey hasn’t been without struggles, but that’s par for the course, notes Grelle. “The title of my show really says how my life has been. An artist’s emotions are so tied to what we produce visually, and I’ve been bound by those emotions—the things my heart has always told me to do, the things I believe in, the people I care about—and by the paint that has run through my blood almost all my life. It really makes a great statement for me.” —Kim Agricola

contact information
480.945.1113
www.legacygallery.com

This story was featured in the November 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art November 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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