artist from Tallinn, Estonia
mirroring physical paint with its digital representations


Acrylic, oil and enamel paint on canvas
80 X 120cm, series of 5

Sampling original fragments of paint, often mimicking photo editing and graphic design tools, by hand.

Exhibition view in Tallinn City Gallery, 2017

Bubble #3

Bubble #1

Bubble #2

Exhibition view in Tallinn City Gallery, 2018

In the exhibition Bubbles, painter Mart Vainre imitates the methods of editing digital images using brush, paint and canvas. In the role of a machine he endeavours to make sense of the information processing mechanisms in the smart-world, where user preferences are predicted by algorithms and consequently lock users into so-called filter bubbles. Each of Vainre’s paintings come about from one or two considered brush strokes, and all the successive additions of paint are the reworkings or samplings of these scant beginnings.

“The paintings, put together from apparently new information, actually present an existing endless echo, and become completely self-absorbed. This kind of sampling is similar, for example, to the analysis of digital patterns of use, which form the basis for search engines and social media platforms to curate the information environment for their users. At a time when we expect all kinds of new information to be available for us, the algorithms throw back minute variations of what the user has already accepted,” says Vainre in explanation of the background behind the painting technique in this current exhibition. At the exhibition we see different incarnations of the filter bubble, which on closer inspection do not consist of anything other than endless variations and repetitions of their own basic elements.

Vainre’s work flirts with elements of formalism and conceptualism. His works are true to the traditions of painting, but seek innovation and address contemporary and relevant topics. The painter Kristi Kongi has said “I think Mart is one of the most exciting painters in Estonia today. So much happens in his work – they are kinetic, alive and colourful, and the artist’s presence is always felt. I believe that everyone finds a point to grab hold of in his work because as well as working with the formal elements, the subject he is working with holds an important and visible place.”

Curator Siim Preiman’s text for Bubbles exhibition in Tallinn City Gallery