Martyn Brewster’s abstract paintings are strongly linked to the English landscape tradition. His paintings and drawings explore the coastal light of the south coast of Dorset where he has lived and worked since leaving London in the early 1990s. In his recent work, Brewster often uses a more vibrant palette and irregular shapes which, although reminiscent of landscape forms, deserve to be viewed in less representational terms. His earlier works were characterized by very thickly applied oil paint. The later works often employ thinner glazes of acrylic paint and collage elements.
Brewster received his undergraduate degree from Brighton Polytechnic where he studied under Dennis Creffield. His very early work was informed by his tuition and was both expressionistic and figurative, although his interest in abstract art was very apparent by the mid-1970s. After taking a post-graduate degree in print making, Brewster began exhibiting regularly in London and further afield. His early influenced included the Abstract Expressionists but also abstract art from mainland Europe, particularly artists such as Nicolas de Staël and Serge Poliakoff. He retains a particular admiration for John Hoyland’s work and that of the St Ives School.
His emergence in the 1980s coincided with a renewed interest in neo-classical figurative work, and as an avowed abstract painter he found himself out of step with current trends. However, he began exhibiting regularly at the Warwick Arts Trust in London which at the time was a haven for British abstract painting, and there he regularly exhibited alongside more senior figures such as John Hoyland and Gillian Ayres. During this time he began exhibiting with the Jill George Gallery and enjoyed a highly successful 26 year exhibition career with the gallery before joining Waterhouse & Dodd in 2011. With W&D Brewster has held 5 solo exhibitions in our Cork Street and Albemarle Street galleries.
Brewster has had retrospective exhibitions at the Russell–Cotes Art Gallery and Museum, 1997; the Royal West of England Academy, 2001; and the Study Gallery of Modern Art, Poole, 2003, amongst others. He has won numerous awards and has work in private, public and corporate collections worldwide. Public collections include the Victoria & Albert Museum, British Museum, Russell–Cotes Art Gallery and Museum, Arts Institute at Bournemouth and Bournemouth University.
"My primary concern has always been with painting. I have never ceased to be fascinated and enthralled by the tactile and evocative qualities of paint. Early on, I developed a particular interest in colour and abstraction which is the key to my work, coupled with a lyrical and poetic response to both nature and the medium.”
A major monograph on the artist by Simon Olding (with a foreword by Mel Gooding) was published in 1997 to coincide with his retrospective exhibition at the Russell Cotes Gallery. Waterhouse & Dodd have published 4 catalogues of his recent works.