Michael Craig-Martin’s first Netherlands solo show invites viewers to appreciate beauty in mundanity

The painter wanted to “take this opportunity to give an overview of the range of my paintings for those unfamiliar with my work or who only know it through reproduction,” he says. He therefore sought to include single image paintings, fragment paintings, compositions involving a variety of images; “paintings large and small,” he explains to It’s Nice That.
Despite him feeling that Amsterdam has been part of his life as an artist since the early 70s, he tells It’s Nice That, this is the artist’s first exhibition in the Netherlands. The paintings feature Craig-Martin’s signature bold colours highlighting inanimate objects which hint towards larger themes at play. For example, a laptop might simply sum up our collective recent history of working from home during a pandemic. But some paintings extend beyond the pandemic: the show is a curated selection of his paintings from the last six years, to a time before most of us had heard of coronavirus.
In a perfectly apt symbol of our times, a face mask is the subject of just one of Michael Craig-Martin’s pieces in his new show entitled All Things Considered at Amsterdam’s Reflex Gallery. “When we try to understand past civilisations – the stone age, ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, the Aztecs – we do so by examining the objects they created and used,” Craig-Martin says. “My work is like an archaeology of the present.”