San Francisco

Fred Martin

Dilexi Gallery

Fred Martin, the indefatigable collage-miniaturist of the Bay Area art world has, in recent months, devoted most of his energy to producing a series of etchings. The series was printed at the Crown Point Press in Richmond and bound in a limited number of handsomely designed books.

The artist’s proofs were displayed at Dilexi Gallery and augmented by a number of preliminary drawings as well as some unrelated drawings. The series is called Bulah Land and contains depictions of the mythical landscape, objects, flowers and other paraphernalia of this sentimental locale. The prints are rendered in a quasi-primitive illustrational manner and are unabashedly literary in content. A key or gloss to the whole project is contained within the printed flyer announcing the exhibition. For those that couldn’t or wouldn’t read the announcement, the gist of the literature is as follows: Bulahland is where Bulah Boy and Bulah Girl live. The visual content within the prints are metaphors or vessels that carry messages, oblique and quite obscure in most cases, of a gentle love for the land, and love for Bulah Girl by Bulah Boy. Bulah Boy becomes quite explicit in his love for Bulah Girl’s pudendum and related sexual parts, and generalizes a great deal about the implementation of his curious Bulah Land prowess.

One withdraws from the word logic in discussing Martin’s work, but his own cryptic development as a collagist would seem to indicate a path leading to these prints. The collages were somewhere between wistful poetic messages to intimate friends and independent statements of negotiable plastic fact. Martin has in the prints chosen to firm up the poetic concern at the expense of the plastic.

––James Monte