Codex

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Midnight Propeller #100, 1970, ink on paper
18 x 18 inches/46 x 46 cm
Estate of Don Martin



In 1970 Martin had the opportunity to study the Codex Borbonicus, a pre-Columbian pictorial manuscript, and was inspired to produce one of his own. He described his codex as "a coding or decoding (as the case may be) of the heart."  It includes a series of over one hundred ink and wash drawings depicting a personal cosmology that, like the concurrent lacquers, are variations on the themes:

the river
the hole
the stupa
the door or archway



The river is a flow and a division of space, the hole an encircling of space or mandala, the stupa is a buddha shape or amount of space, and the door is an archway to another space. To make them, Martin brushed an ink wash image on paper, then ran it under water and drew in ink over what remained. Chance was a welcome element in the process. 

"Martin's drawing brings his viewer closer to the things that attract his attention and function as sources of inspiration."

Casey FitzSimons, ArtWeek




Before the Gates #99, 1970, ink on paper
18 x 18 inches/46 x 46 cm
Estate of Don Martin









Bowl of Doesn't Matter #98, 1970, ink on paper
18 x 18 inches/46 x 46 cm
Estate of Don Martin










Pale Fire #91, 1971, ink on paper
18 x 18 inches/46 x 46 cm
Estate of Don Martin








Twenty Snake and Stone #83, 1972, ink on paper
18 x 18 inches/46 x 46 cm
Estate of Don Martin









Wash Wash, 1972, ink on paper
18 x 18 inches/46 x 46 cm
Estate of Don Martin










Aiee! Cried First Man, 1977, ink on paper
14 x 14 inches/36 x 36 cm
Estate of Don Martin










Working Woman, 1977, ink on paper
18 x 18 inches/46 x 46 cm
Estate of Don Martin








Open Wheel #1, 1979, ink on paper
18 x 18 inches/46 x 46 cm
Estate of Don Martin









Carriage, 1979, ink on paper
18 x 18 inches/46 x 46 cm
Estate of Don Martin









Wheel Rising, 1979, ink on paper
18 x 18 inches/46 x 46 cm
Private Collection









Her #1, 1979, ink on paper
18 x 18 inches/46 x 46 cm
Estate of Don Martin








The House of the House OF, 1987, ink on paper
18 x 18 inches/46 x 46 cm
Private Collection 










In a Row, 1989, ink on paper 
18 x 18 inches/46 x 46 cm
Estate of Don Martin









Untitled (Apples), 1989, ink on paper
18 x 18 inches/46 x 46 cm
Estate of Don Martin







(photos of art work: Tony Grant © 2017, Rick Pharaoh © 2017, Joan Gilbert Martin)