Martin Canin is, first and foremost, a colorist. Color is the subject of his work and the focus of his study. In the early part of his career he explored the interaction of colors as they ran alongside each other in bands. Later, he joined many other mid-Century artists who realized that any exploration of color must take into consideration the shape of the object–and, indeed, the color and texture of the surrounding surface–and he began to explore shaped paintings, in which the stretcher was not anchored to a rectangular shape.
Unlike so many artists who sought to distill color and to eschew any content to the art beyond the art itself–its color and shape–Canin’s work is characterized by a lyricism that adds intensity and emotionality.
Canin taught in the illustration department at Parsons School of Design in New York for 25 years. He earned a BFA in Painting from Syracuse University in 1951.
Canin has exhibited his work extensively, including at the Museum of Modern Art, Graham Gallery, and Tate Britian. His work can be found in the collections of the Tate and the Yale University Art Gallery.