Fine Art

The Inbetween Places

Martin Brent photographs tableau landscapes formed from images of real world locations and structures.

The Inbetween Places are tableau landscapes formed from images of real world locations and structures. The name is derived from the feeling I get when I find and photograph these places, they’re neither the beginning or the end of my journeys.

Reflecting my personal anxiety with global politics, the current obsession with reinstating borders and walls and consumerism. The projects intention is to challenge the illusion of identity, nation state and artificial borders by reorganising and reframing found scenes, geographically and sometimes chronologically to create new places, sometimes with absurd juxtapositions.

The land, the things and structures imposed on it are used as a symbol of ownership and power but also placation of the mass. Yet that power is exclusionary, be it by birth, socio economic status or political affiliation. Subverting the gaze of this mass I hope to at least provoke discussion as to how society proceeds from here and if it can continue to other vast sections of the world population.

Ammo Sale 2020
Paris Not Texas I 2019
Whitesands Laundry 2020

Wayne Ford wrote about Brent’s images and asked the fundamental question:

Why do we feel that we belong in some places, whilst not in others?

“In defining place identity — a core concept within environmental psychology — it is “those dimensions of self that define the individual’s personal identity in relation to the physical environment by means of a complex pattern of conscious and unconscious ideas, feelings, values, goals, preferences, skills, and behavioural tendencies relevant to a specific environment” wrote the eminent environmental psychologist Professor Harold M. Proshansky.

It is these very strands and themes that artist Martin Brent questions in his tableaux series the Inbetween Places. In which he contextually reframes the landscape — both geographically and metaphysically — and in doing so, he walks a path first trodden by the Pittura Metafisica movement and its founder Giorgio de Chirico (1888-1978).

It has been said that de Chirico set out to “paint that which could not be seen,” and it is here that we find a parallel in Brent’s tableaux. As he manipulates images of real world locations to create that which can not be seen, and in doing so questions our very concept of place identity though the sense of belonging and the discomfort of the unfamiliar.”

Paris Not Texas III 2019
Uluru Services 2018
Carpark 8 2020
Red Hut 2018

“In Red Hut (2018) a small summer lodge sits not on the banks of a crystal clear Scandinavian fjord, but a sea of desolate grey asphalt. It is initially familiar, but as we read deeper into this image a natural discomfort begins to flow through our psyche as the contrast of tranquility represented by the cabin, gives way to the coldness of an urban no-mans land.”

Mexican Hat 2020
Shuttle 1 2020
Wendys Whitesands 2020

“In another of his images Wendy’s Whitesands (2020), a sign signalling the presence of the iconic diner rises against an azure blue sky from the blistering hot sands of the desert. This mirage once again sparks questions in the viewers mind.

For many of us the desert is a barren daunting inhospitable place where life is sparse and death is omnipresent, yet this modern totem signals juicy burgers, fries, refreshing shakes and the cooling sanctuary of air conditioning.”

Shuttle 2 2020
Orange Gate 2018

“Utilising a frame-within-a-frame — a recurring motif that the artist utilises with great effect — we look out from a time locked motel room in Apollo Motel (2020) (feature image at top of page), it’s interior bathed in shades of melancholy onto the Apollo moonport that stands as a monument to American achievement. The launch pad is visually familiar from television images and the cinema screen, however the environs are far from so. And in constructing this space Brent plays with the viewers conscious and unconscious concepts of environment. Within this singular frame where every element appears time-stamped, we feel both at ease and a tense unrest.”

Dairy Queen 2020
Swedish Liberty 2019
London River Valley 2018-19

“A vast concrete river channel lined with towering electricity pylons and spanned by arching bridges sweeps through London River Valley (2018). It is instantly recognisable as Los Angeles, but as the eye reads this image, questions begin to emerge. Is this really Los Angeles? Is that not the cantilevered observation wheel known as the London Eye emerging from above the smooth concrete bank? Could this be some view of the British capital from its industrial hinterland that is little seen, or does Los Angeles have an observation wheel too, as many cities now do?


Brent’s image is both Los Angeles and London at the same time, appearing as a visual equivalent of what Erwin Schrödinger termed verschränkung. These two geographical locations are so clearly distinct, but here in the artists tableaux the pictorial entanglement cannot be deciphered, it is not Los Angeles, but equally it is not London. To one viewer it will be London, however to another it will be Los Angeles. But equally it may be neither, only a no man’s land filled with a complex sense of discomfort.”

Walmart Motel Whitesands 2020
Almagordo 2020

“With the Inbetween Places, Brent masterfully plays with both our conscious and subconscious understanding of our own identity through the visual concepts of place and time. Through these images he raises multi-layered and highly nuanced questions about our own personal identity and sense of belonging. But he does not attempt to offer answers, instead leaving it for the individual to find their own place within his work, as it is in society; and that is the real power of the Inbetween Places.”

Not the Whitesands Motel 2020
The View 2020

The photographer

Martin Brent

Martin is an advertising and fine art photographer working out of London, Amsterdam and New York. When not shooting on assignment, photography is still his hobby.

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