Eugene J. Martin
Eugene J. Martin (24 July 1938 – 1 January 2005) was an African American visual artist. While his art was "beyond category", he is particularly noted for his complex, often whimsical and biomorphic mixed media collages on paper; pencil, pen and ink drawings; and "pure", lyrical and constructed abstractions on canvas.
- If you seek just a little truth, as most, you should not ignore abstract forms, the basis from which all short-lived experiences we call reality springs.
- While traveling our separated roads through life, we are also either road signs or potholes on the roads of others.
- Cellar Door, Spring 1985, Vol. 12(2), p. 50.
- The bird of truth would not be able to fly if it weren't for the air of lies we breathe.
- from E.J. Martin's website at 
- Can someone eat the fruit that comes from the tree of action that grows from the seeds of your mind?
- There are opposing forces in all living things. My work reflects this and stirs up a contrast of emotions in the viewer... perception versus annoyance. To the viewer who has reached that level of awareness, my work is no longer abstract, but very real.
Annotated Drawings by Eugene J. Martin: 1977-1978
- Suzanne Fredericq, Estate of Eugene James Martin (June 25, 2009), ISBN 9780578026046
- One solution to one problem makes two problems.
- One tool that is used most and has the greatest misuse of power is looks, and another tool that is used least and has the least desire for power is wisdom.
- When making a commitment, make it not to someone, but of someone to yourself.
- Rather than studying the laws of cause and effect, people spend their lives being the effect and running from the cause.
- Defensive thinkers best defend themselves from knowing who they are.
- In order to stay clear of pain, we must know and know why we feel best while having pain.
- There can be danger in stretching the body if it’s not done properly. The same is true with the imagination and the chemistry which may give the imagination elasticity, but the soul gives a direction.
- All things – great, small, good, bad, friend, enemy—should be a lesson, not an obsession.
- Americans are simple people with simple interests – The only time they sincerely ask “why” about anything is when they don’t receive their paychecks.
- Just as feelings grow out of ignorance, intuition should grow out of knowledge.
- The more fortunate people among us would surely think we are civilized, but the less fortunate among us are a reminder that we’re not.
- People have learned to escape reality very well but too often lose their way back.
- Technology has not advanced because people are starved for instruments to make a better civilization, but because they are starved for entertainment – technology is still mostly a toy factory for grown-ups.
- Sometimes when you feed on another’s word you must eat it like a banana – you peel it first.
- People find it easy to justify their frustration in the struggle to manipulate others, but find it hard to justify the struggle for their own growth.
- Money inspires activity, not honesty.
- The words “human nature” can be the greatest obstacle to human growth.
- Because of subconscious guilt, people spend half their lives in self-punishment and the other half taking on more guilt.
- Genius does not only require superior knowledge and skill, but also superior patience.
- Passion is a disguise for attachment – sometimes as hate and other times as love.
- Most writers are successful in getting their readers’ attention, but fail at getting them to think. If you’re asked to explain anything philosophical to anyone, the chances are great their understanding will be superficial; it’s best they don’t understand than to think they do, so encourage them to grow into understanding and don’t hand them too much explanation.
- Being able to communicate with someone doesn’t necessarily mean that you understand them.
- People fight not because they disagree,but because they don’t know they agree.
- It’s past time that people get involved in thinking – now that the computers can take over the field of memory.
- There are lesser people not for what they are, but for why they are.
- 'It’s a great tragedy that the ability to act is used to manipulate people, but it is a greater tragedy that people welcome it while sometimes making a phony protest.
- Having a sincere desire to want growth does not mean at that point you are committing yourself to growth.
- Because of guilt there is painful diversion; because of greed there is playful diversion; because of grass there is pleasurable diversion.
- Truth is so large OR people’s minds are so small that they’re only able to nibble on the edges – and when growth brings them to the area where they can feed on truth itself, as they move in and eat of the seed, there they become truth.
- Vanity begins and ends with deception, so the reason people put interesting and attractive clothes on their bodies is perhaps the same for having uninteresting and unattractive expressions on their faces.
- Things differ because of the time in which they exist. In time, things opposite will reverse themselves. Also, judging does the opposite of clearing it confuses. Now, if any of this you judged to be non-sense, then perhaps it’s not so obvious that judging is the worst escort perception can have.
- Rather than programming children as if they were computers, parents should be something like art instructors. Because life is like a clump-of-clay, you can’t make it into an expression of beauty, unless you take it into your hands. While sprinkling their lives with painful and playful diversions, people wait their lives miserably into old age, for the skills to live-life, to–come as did life- itself.
- Truth rides best In that which looks ridiculous.
- Beware of the possible reason some people are honestly down and out - it is because they tried to copy the many who are superficially doing well.
- Conflict is necessary for growth. But too often conflict becomes a haven for the soul. Until one day, the soul can no longer free itself. In real growth the soul learns to fly rather than having the ego inflated with praise from accomplishments as if it were a balloon. Only because it buys time, do we develop a strong and protective ego. This is the early stage in the soul’s evolution, until such time when the soul hatches out of its shell, which is the ego, into a new world in which there is incomparable beauty.
They came, they looked, they walked
their eyes wide open
they didn’t see
because their minds were closed
Their eyes wide open
they didn’t know they couldn’t see
because their minds were closed;
so they looked, and left.
Quotes about Eugene J. Martin
- Lorsque l'art d'écrire obsède mon esprit et ronge insidieusement mes forces, je laisse errer mon regard sur un dessein d"Eugene Martin, je me repaîs de ses couleurs sereines et puise des certitudes dans ses lumières si denses.
- Françoise Mallet-Joris, foreword in catalogue booklet of Eugene Martin's 1990 one-person exhibit at the Michel Rooryck Gallery, Ghent, Belgium
- As have the Chinese and English Languages, Eugene has stripped his grammer to the naked bone, sinewed the simple frame, and created a rich vocabulary of meaning, sight and emotion. Yet, always there is discipline.
- One element that seems to run throughout Martin's forty years of work is the physical and psychological mechanics of the body/mind. Whether spirited in animals or manifested through abstraction, they are about ourselves: our neurosis, the dreams we hope for, how we eat... Ultimately though, they reveal our resistance to escape the gravitational pull of stillness - the inevitable conclusion to life.
- Brian Guidry, in pamphlet introducing Eugene James Martin's "Ornithology" exhibit, Acadiana Center for the Arts, Lafayette LA, 1.25.2005 - 4.10.2005