Martynas Gaubas and Arvydas Martinaitis (Lithuania)

“I’ve always been an observer who seeks moments frozen in time – moments the viewers can easily experience here and now, based exclusively on the body language captured in art.”

Martynas Gaubas

“I see what your problem is. You are too serious. A smart face is no sign of intelligence, gentlemen. All stupid things on Earth are done wearing this expression. Smile, gentlemen, smile!”

Arvydas Martinaitis

Brilliance, scope and an infinite symbolic vocabulary are the shared signature elements in the toolkit of both Lithuanian artists, even though they are applied to different materials.

Arvydas Martinaitis is a versatile artist. His creative pursuits include painting, printmaking and drawing, but for this exhibition, we have chosen painting as the most compelling medium for demonstrating the explosive creative drive that keeps him going and expressing himself through art.

Bright, dense and grounded colours submerge the eye of the beholder into the plane of existence beyond time and space, where the line between reality and fantasy ceases to exist, where the world as we know it is turned upside down, and the impossible becomes possible. This creates dimensions in the narratives of the paintings. At first glance, a viewer might look for irony in Martinaitis’ art; the second time, they find similarities between the story in the picture and their experiences; finally, after locating and interpreting the details in the painted narrative and connecting it to their personal history, the viewer finds new meanings, which broaden their understanding of the world.

We are accustomed to recognising the recognisable. But maybe sometimes it’s worth just accepting the “fantasies” that naturally come to mind? Perhaps we need them to balance out our persistent gravitas. Inside, the artist is utterly free and kind. He fills his paintings with “frivolous” images… very personal… and perfectly self-evident… They help us keep our individual identity and hold on to our inner self so we can stay in tune with the outer life.

Martynas Gaubas is an ironic artist. Whatever the chosen medium, his work is consistently brimming with humour through grotesque, caricature or parody. Although Martynas is a prolific painter and graphic artist, in this exhibition, we have chosen to focus on sculpture and his signature forms already known as “Gaubian”. In his stylistic, the ugly and the deformed gets a distinct shape and appears attractive and playful without losing the flawless or deliberately distorted proportions and vitality in the images depicting anthropoid, floral or animal motifs. Martynas is a true virtuoso with both larger shapes and smaller sculptural objects. He throws himself into an elaborate dance with his images and finds ease even in the most complex of tasks. This effortless grace continues to shine from his work even after it leaves the studio to be encountered by the viewer in the exhibition space. It prompts a smile, gives food for talk, may even strike fear but will always draw you back to continue the encounter, for you can’t help wondering how on earth the artist will surprise you next time.

No two artworks or exhibitions are exactly the same. One day in the artist’s life is always followed by the next, with its own scents and flavours, its moments of light and dark. They’re never identical, so here and now is the best we’ve got.

Image: Arvydas Martinaitis, ANGRY SQUIRREL AND ME, mixed media, 200 × 120, 2021

Exhibition period: 22 April– 26 June 2022