Martin Whist


TEW Galleries is pleased to announce an exhibition of abstract mixed media paintings and drawings by artist and film production designer, Martin Whist. Also on exhibition are fine monotype prints from the 1950s and 60s Otto Neumann, courtesy of the Estate of Otto Neumann.


Sep 17 – Oct 16, 2021


OTTO NEUMANN (1895-1975)

Meditations in Abstraction 


Martin Whist is known in the film and television industry for his work as a Production Designer on blockbuster films such as Robocop, The Predator, and Super 8; as well as the cult classics The Cabin in the Woods, Cloverfield, Smokin Aces, and Tenacious D “The Pick of Destiny”; the acclaimed design original, Bad Times at The El Royale, and most recently, the much-anticipated upcoming Netflix release The Harder They Fall.

Whist was born in British Colombia, Canada and studied and practiced fine art before shifting focus to his film career. He earned his Master’s in Fine Arts from Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, California, graduating in 1992 and was represented by Catriona Jeffreys Gallery in Vancouver and the Acme Gallery in Los Angeles in the 1990’s and early 2000s, before choosing to pursue his art privately while applying his commercial energy to work in the film industry.

Starting as a prop maker, Whist’s creative vision and talents saw him develop into an accomplished Art Director and later, Production Designer, on independent and major motion pictures. Nearly 20 years after withdrawing from active participation in the gallery art scene, Martin is moving back into exhibiting whilst also maintaining his career in cinema. TEW Galleries is pleased to present this exhibition of works that define the personal interior world of an otherwise public figure.

Whereas Whist’s filmmaking design process is bold, complex, extroverted and involves many moving parts; his fine art, in contrast to the hyper intensive process of production design, swings the pendulum back in in the opposite direction to a quiet, solo, introspective activity.

For Whist the process of making art is an active meditation rooted entirely in the present moment. The pieces are a bi-product and reflection of this meditation: a manifestation of the unseen becoming seen - a simple, quiet, scaleless, moment of infinite potential. Using continuous line, often with time and date notations marking the interstices between active creation and moments when life breaks into the process, Whist’s work forms an intimate journey of discovery for the viewer who comes close enough to trace the thread between the creative process and daily existence. 

He begins his artmaking in what one could describe as an “empty” state; intuitively open, meditative, and receptive to internal promptings. The script, used as a guideline to his film career, is replaced by faith and listening to inner voices. His mark making starts loose and seemingly unguided then begins to coalesce into observant intentionality. Once this point is reached, the process is a dual activity of impulse and response, shifting back and forth between introspection and execution, articulation, and suggestion. Whist is guided to have his work remain subjectively uninvolved but clear in translation as he transcribes his experience and explorations at the intersection of spirit and form, mind and body, idea, and execution. He endeavors not to trap the image, but to find a resonance and balance somewhere between a question and an answer. 

Martin Whist currently lives in Georgia.