Abstraction and realism converge to striking effect in the work of cosmopolitan German artist Martin Köster.
Martin is intrigued by the almost magical way in which a city is transformed at nightfall. Car headlights illuminating the streets, bright restaurant doorways casting a glow across the pavements, hundreds of streetlights throwing the dark buildings into sharp relief – each of these different elements has its own story, and he loves to roam the streets of each new city, discovering and translating those stories into striking works of art.
With a particular interest in locations where tall buildings dominate the skyline, Martin sets up his easel on the roof of a skyscraper at every opportunity. This allows him to look down over the beating heart of the city and to witness its vitality from a distance as an unseen observer. “It's quiet up there on the roof. Nobody bothers you when you paint and yet you are still in the middle of the city” he explains. “It is strange but from a distance it is as if you can get closer to a place. Sometimes it is like looking down into a canyon – the urban environment mimicking a natural feature of the landscape.”
Martin paints exclusively in oils as they allow him the intensity of colour that is crucial to his work. He paints much of the image with bespoke spatulas and palette knives that he makes himself and only introduces a brush for the final stages of the composition. On occasion he dilutes the paints to soften the edges, giving an impression of wet buildings and pavements, but he rarely uses any kind of finish, preferring the work to be as natural and authentic as possible.