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Forty of his video pieces have been archived by the British Film Institute in the UK including Mr and Mrs (1976) his first video work based on a television game show appearance and Metamorphosis (Headcake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.
On the subject of his drawings St.James describes his paper works as ‘thinking actions’, things that land and are fought onto the paper via thinking.

…. 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


Selected exhibitions

2006     Time-based Drawings,  Hackney Forge Gallery, London
2005     Somewhere or in Between,  Chelsea Art Museum, New York
2003     The Journey of St.Maurin, National Centre For Contemporary Art, Moscow
2001     Betweeness   Galerie der Gegwart, Wiesbaden, Germany
New works - Marty St.James  The Standpoint Gallery, London
Scores  Gallery @ Oxo, London 
            Betweeness, Colville Place Gallery, London
2000     Picture Yourself   Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh.
An inter-active digital video / print installation sponsored by Sony Broadcast UK and Macmillan Electronics UK December 1999 - January  
1997     Video Works Amongst The Permanent Collection, Ferens Museum and Art Gallery, Hull
1994     New works   Gallery ‘M’ London new digital prints and video object works
1991     New Video Portraits, 101 Gallery, Ottawa,Canada
            Video Portretten, Het Recept, Amsterdam, Netherlands
1990     Hotel, Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne
1990     Video Portraits National Portrait Gallery
1989     Hotel, Air Gallery, London
1987     Romance Don’t Dance Alone, Video installation and drawings Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol
            Jerusalem Spacex Gallery, Exeter
            Jerusalem Hacienda night club, Manchester
1985     Paintings and Performance Art Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth
1983     Private Investigations Rochdale Art Gallery
1982     Perfect Moments Camden Institute Gallery, London
            Perfect Moments Oriel Gallery, Welsh Arts Council Gallery, Cardiff
            Perfect Moments Spectro Arts Centre Gallery, Newcastle
1980     New Performances and related Drawings, Wrexham Arts Centre
1979     In Celebration of the Six Senses, Aberyswtyth Arts Centre

2006     Arteba  Buenos Aires, Argentina
2005     gHOST University of Hertfordshire
2003     Gallerie Blickensdorf, Berlin
.           Cocktail II  Deluxe Digital Gallery, Hoxton, London
.           Lux Video Open, RCA, London
2002     Journeys  - Two Artists’ Video Installations Contemporary Art Museum  (CAM) Moscow
 .          Travelling  Elena Vrublevskaya Gallery, Moscow
 .          Digital Prints  Zinc, Birmingham
 .          Interrogating The Surface Millbank Gallery 
            (Royal Military College), London
 .          Two Artists  Centre for Attention, London
 .          Cocktail  Deluxe Digital Gallery, Hoxton, London
 .          Digital Prints  Zinc Gallery, Manchester
 .          Interrogating The Surface  Atkinson Gallery, Millfield
 .          Art For The Millennium, New Greenham Arts Centre, Greenham
 .          Studio Voltaire, London
 .          Rich Pics  Colville Place Gallery, London
 .          The Digital Aesthetic.Harris Museum, Preston
2001     EVO 1  international exhibition, L Gallery, Moscow
 .          Artists Prints  Inside Space, London
            Printmakers Council Exhibition at The Royal National Theatre, London
 .          Rich Picts exhibition of digital works curated by the Colville
            Place Gallery -  New Greenham Arts
 .          Smoking Man The Castle Museum, Nottingham
2000     Painting The Century 101 Portrait Masterpieces
            The National Portrait Gallery, London. 
            Boy / Girl  a video diptych
            (25th Oct - 4th Feb 2001) with Picasso, Freud, Bacon, Munch, Warhol  etc
 .          Self Portraits   Flowers East Gallery, East London
 .          Falmouth Arts Centre - electronic prints
 .          Art cinema OFF-OFF, Copenhagen, Denmark
 .          Centre d’Art, Santa Monica, Barcelona, Spain
 .          Cine Cafe, Paris
 .          Batofar, Association Signe st Eau, Alfortville, France       
1999     VIDARTE, Barranca del Muerto, Mexico
 .          Transat Video, Herouville Saint-Clair, France
 .          RAI SAT, SpA, Rome, Italy