'I started drawing this blockhead form in 2005.
In retrospect I can see they were a direct response to my obsession with Guston, particularly his masonry work. I have a distinct memory of visualising a face merging into a Picasso skull disappearing into a Humpty Dumpty brick wall.'
Perrotin Tokyo is pleased to present works by Brooklyn-based Eddie Martinez, marking the artist's first solo show in Japan, as well as with the gallery.
Born in 1977, Martinez is essentially a self-taught artist, having only very briefly attended art school. He had his first solo show in 2005.
Alternating between traditional and unconventional modes of painting, Martinez often layers oil and enamel painting with silkscreen, spray paint, and on occasion pieces of gum wrappers and baby wipes. His somewhat arbitrary choice of material and subject could be seen to embody the ease and lightness of contemporary culture, although his practice also reflects elements of historical movements such as Abstract Expressionism, Neo-Expressionism and CoBrA.
Originally applauded for an iconic figurative style featuring his famous cast of bug-eyed characters, more recently the artist has focused on exploring abstraction, largely to escape from the notion of the 'expected product.'
Titled Blockhead Stacks, the Tokyo exhibition showcases a series of paintings and drawings exploring the skull motif, a recurring image in Martinez's practice. In his signature candid gestural style, he gives the paintings a playful sense of visual depth, purposely revealing traces of colour and brushstrokes layered under the surface. Notable also in the show is the collection of small drawings made as studies for the paintings.
Martinez has had recent solo exhibitions at The Drawing Center, New York and Davis Museum at Wellesley College, Massachusetts. His work has been included in group shows such as New York Painting, Kunstmuseum Bonn (2015); Body Language, The Saatchi Gallery, London (2013-2014); New York Minute, Garage Center For Contemporary Culture, Moscow (2011); Mail Orders and Monsters, Deitch Projects, New York (2007); and Panic Room: Works from the Dakis Joannou Collection, Deste Foundation Centre for Contemporary Art, Athens (2006).
The artist's works are notably included in The Saatchi Collection (London, UK), Hiscox Collection (London, UK), La Colección Júmex (Mexico City, Mexico), The Marciano Collection (Los Angeles, CA, USA), The Morgan Library (NY, USA), and Davis Museum at Wellesley College, Wellesley (MA, USA).
The Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York, is currently holding a solo show of the artist titled White Outs. Running through February 17, 2019, the exhibit showcases a new body of works focused on the theme of erasure.
CoBrA was a European avant-garde movement that emerged in 1948. The name was coined from the initials of the cities (Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam) where the group's founder members lived.
Press release courtesy Perrotin.