Marty St James
Existing somewhere between the moving and the static is an excellent description of the work of and intentions of artist St. James. Stepping, as if from one stone to another he has created artworks primarily in performance art, video art, photography and drawing. He describes it as exploring the physical, the electronic and the pencil equally. A time based media artist straddling modernist and post-modernist times. His work locates itself between the narrative of meaning and the meaninglessness of re-assemblage. A type of visual Beckett. St..James, who invented the video portrait, has exhibited in leading museums and galleries in the US, Europe, Russia, South America and Japan. He is Professor of Fine Art at the University of Hertfordshire in the UK.
Forty of his video pieces have been archived by the British Film Institute in the UK including Mr and Mrs (1976) his first video work based on a television game show appearance and Metamorphosis (Headcake 1998). During the 1980’s a number of his video works were broadcast on national television including Timecode (Heartbeat 1988) shown in a number of countries worldwide. The Video Portraits of the 1990’s are some of his best known works including The Swimmer an 11 monitor installation work in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery, London. These works ranged from miniature single monitor video objects to large multi-monitor installations.
St .James has represented Britain abroad in a number of exhibitions, performance art events, video screenings and festivals via the British Council and Arts Council, including, Electronically Yours at the Metropolitan Museum of Photography in Tokyo (1998) and Artec Nagoya, Japan (1995). During 2000 his year- long inter-active digital work Picture Yourself showed at the Scottish National Galleries celebrating the millennium with the public able to see themselves projected on the museum walls. In 2000 his Boy / Girl video diptych showed at the National Portrait Gallery in London, Painting the Century, 101 Portrait Masterpieces from the 20th century including Picasso, Freud, Bacon, Warhol, Munch etc…
Running through St.James’ works there
has been a sense of self-portraiture or the portraiture
of others. In his recent shows in Moscow, The
Journey of St Maurin (2002) and New York Somewhere
or Between (2005) there has been a sense
of the artist involved in a struggle to locate
an inner sense of self and being.
…. Marty St.James believes that art only matters if the artist has something important to say, that his or her work is not simply an item of commercial transaction. His is an Apollonian discourse rather than a Dionysian one. For him art is a way of thinking in the visual rather than the making of a heroic statement or precious object. He is in tune with Bachelard’s notion that the embodiment of knowledge exists in the action of making, rather than in the object of the finished piece. His intention is to investigate “the stringing together of moments in frame type form to explore surface and time.” ‘ a time based artist media artist straddling both modernist and post-modernist times..’Sue Hubbard, Arts Critic The Independent Newspaper, London