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Dispersal : On Black (1967)


Mary Martin was one of the most influential constructivist artists of her generation in England. In much of her work, she took her inspiration from the idea of things - usually natural elements - dispersing or moving away from a central point. The feeling of a gentle fall, like an autumnal leaf floating to the ground, evident here is typical of her exploration of such natural phenomena. Often, as here, she made use of half-cubes, each with a reflecting hypotenuse, to build what she termed 'super-patterns' of shapes dispersed apparently at random upon the picture plane. Explaining her technique she once wrote: 'As with all works based on the constructing process the result is unforeseen. The process is nuclear ... that is to say that one commences with a single cell, or unit, a logical process of growth is applied and, as with kinetic and optical art, which are branches of construction, the whole, or the effect, is unforeseen until the work is complete'.