Oil paintings > Martin Geiger, 
Martin Geiger, "Robert’s Table / Tribute to Scott Noel," 2022, oil on linen, 32 x 48 in., Steven Francis Fine Art (Lynchburg, Virginia)

There are a lot of superb contemporary oil paintings being made these days; this article by Allison Malafronte shines light on a gifted individual.

One look at the paintings of Martin Geiger (b. 1997) and it’s evident where his artistic education took place: the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, where he earned a certificate after four years studying drawing and painting. There he trained under the influential instructor Scott Noel (b. 1955), best known for inspiring the Perceptual Painting movement more than a decade ago. Those who follow this approach aim to paint their direct responses to the visible world with a focus on space, volume, color, and shape.

This experience-based approach is well-suited to Geiger because it requires close, careful observation and thoughtful reflection; curiosity about, and admiration of, the physical world have long been his strong suits. “The world itself almost seems like an immense playground of sorts,” the artist writes. “Everything in my surroundings feels and looks intensely interesting at all times. It seems always about ready to reveal itself, almost like a piece of music leading up to a crescendo. It’s clear that there is something very important just beneath the surface for the artist, and making art is my best attempt at excavating these ever-present patterns and showing them to the world.”

The subjects Geiger feels compelled to paint range from figures and landscapes to interiors and architecture, but the formal elements of light, space, and design are consistently his main subject. In Robert’s “Table/Tribute to Scott Noel,” for instance, the artist made two contrasting light sources the main characters of his visual narrative while giving a nod to his longtime mentor.

“This painting depicts a messy table covered with various overlooked envelopes, containers, and other detritus in a seasoned artist’s studio,” Geiger explains. “The dark interior and cool light bathing these items are contrasted with a blazing, luminous exterior landscape. This theme of outside versus inside was a hallmark of Scott Noel.”

Born in Charlottesville, Geiger has returned to Virginia and now makes his studio in Staunton. There he is an instructor at the Beverly Street Studio School and also serves as head assistant at Bronze Craft Foundry in nearby Waynesboro. Geiger has won two grants from the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation (2018 and 2022) and considers those experiences instrumental in helping him realize several large-scale works.

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