Martin Metcalfe is a West Lothian born artist currently working in Edinburgh the capital city of Scotland. His art is rooted in a kind of figurative Modernism. In particular, he consciously upholds the freedom that German Expressionism gave to the then radical painters of the early 1900’s. His work achieves what the Nazi’s found so distasteful (see the Degenerate ‘Art’ Exhibition of 1937) it reveals the inner person, the feelings rather than the surface of the subject. There is a theory that Hitler couldn’t stand looking at the (sometimes mangled) characters in Expressionist portraits because it was too much of a painful mirror-image of his own disturbed soul.
Metcalfe’s work has thus far been based around the human figure with any distortion being a by-product of what the Surrealists called ‘automatic drawing’.
In some situations looks only at the model and never at what his hands are doing. This technique leads to distortion of proportions whilst remaining surprisingly cohesive. Other techniques include what Dali called the ‘paranoid Critical’ method which is similar to finding recognizable shapes in the clouds, except using perhaps pages full of scribbles or paint drips of to discover a ‘hidden’ version of reality.