I first visited Havana in November 2016, a few days after Fidel Castro died, and just under a year before Hurricane Irma hit Cuba in September 2017. Since then, much has changed, including the hand-painted signs that punctuate the journey from the airport to the city centre, which today do not celebrate the revolution so much as the 'Unidad y...
The exhibition Beyond Boundaries at Somerset House in London (12 March–2 April 2019) marked the historic contributions of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing (CAFA) and the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London, on the occasion of their 100th and 150th anniversaries, respectively. Spread across several rooms of Somerset House's...
The National 2019: New Australian Art features work by 70 contemporary Australia-based artists split across three venues: the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), Carriageworks, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) (29 March–21 July 2019), as curated by Isobel Parker Philip, curator of photographs at AGNSW; Daniel Mudie Cunningham,...
For the 2018 edition of Frieze London, Timothy Taylor is proud to present a series of new works by Eddie Martinez, characterised by Martinez’s return to large-scale figuration, following his 2017 exhibition, Cowboy Town at Timothy Taylor, London.
In these new paintings, transient forms are hard to pin down as they float in the picture plane or break down into abstract mark-making. Unfixed gestures intensify Martinez’s idiosyncratic line; moving from tennis ball to dinner plate to a figure’s head, with whiplash intensity. These components jostle for position, sometimes supported by a defining line across the bottom, perhaps suggesting the horizon, the edge of a frame, or maybe the edge of a dinner table; an underscoring of space.
Quotidian still-life detritus such as plants, dinner plates and fruits are juxtaposed with a more personal lexicon, masked heads, sunglasses and skulls, figures which have repeatedly cropped up in Martinez’s practice. These objects seem private and harder to reason with, projecting as part of an intimate belief system rendered in paint.
The paint boldly inhabits the surface in every way imaginable. Marks are made with slapstick application, impasto paint sits on a sunken thin wash, with the sputter of a sprayed line designating an amorphous shape or hastily filling it in. Overlapping planes of colour jut against a decisive silk-screened black line. These riotous gestures are rendered in Martinez’s colour palette, primary colours that appear cheerful, artificial, sometimes sludgy.
This peculiar dynamic explodes traditional ideas of what a still-life can be where traditional opulence is cut with the grime of urban life, giving Martinez’s work freedom from the orthodoxy of post-war American painting. Elements of Abstract and Neo-Expressionism are borrowed by Martinez, examined, employed and made resolutely his, distanced from the source by his characteristic gesture. These allusions are muddled with repetition and graffiti-like tags, marks which are highly personalised but also ubiquitous, giving a sense of comic-book familiarity.
The volatile mixture of materials and their paradoxical application retain the energy of the doodle in the speed of their visual immediacy; a directness which stems from Martinez’s personal challenge to link drawing and painting.
Eddie Martinez (b. 1977, USA) live and works in Brooklyn. He has gained international recognition for his extraordinary use of line and manipulation of colour, which he applies aggressively and in vividly contrasting combinations to his paintings and sculptures. He has been the subject of multiple solo exhibitions including Eddie Martinez: Studio Wall, Drawing Center, New York, NY, USA and Ants at a Picknic, Davis Museum at Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA, USA in 2017 and has been exhibited internationally at Kunstmuseum Bonn, Bonn, Germany; The Saatchi Gallery, London, UK; Garage Centre For Contemporary Culture, Moscow, Russia; Museo de la Cuidad de México, Mexico City, Mexico; and Deste Foundation Centre for Contemporary Art, Athens, Greece.
His forthcoming exhibition White Outs (14 November 2018–17 February 2019) at The Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York, NY, USA defines a significant point in Martinez’s career, where he explores absence by whiting out parts of the composition which would usually be represented by his decisive black line.
Martinez’s work features in private and public collections including Hiscox Collection, London, UK; The Saatchi Collection, London, UK; La Colección Júmex, Mexico City, Mexico; Abu Ghazaleh Collection, Jordan and The Marciano Collection, Los Angeles LA, USA.
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