Brooklyn-based artist Martine Gutierrez is known for her practice which explores identity, gender and culture. Her work—which incorporates performance, film and photography—sees her simultaneously navigate the roles of artist, muse and subject.Read More
Martine Gutierrez was born in Berkeley, California in 1989 to a Guatemalan father and American mother. She grew up in Vermont and travelled to Guatemala every year to visit her father's family. Her cross-cultural background heavily influences her artistic practice.
Gutierrez became interested in popular culture from a young age and used her understanding of fashion, music and the visual language of film as tools for elaborate narration.
In 2012, Gutierrez earned a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. Shortly after, she moved to New York City and was invited to participate in her first solo exhibition at Ryan Lee Gallery in 2013. For this show, Gutierrez produced a body of work in response to her declaration of personal transformation that interrogates the conventions of sexuality, gender, race and class.
For the 2014 photographic series 'Girlfriends' and 'Line Ups', Martine Gutierrez photographed herself with mannequins that eerily resemble her amidst lavish backdrops.
It is often difficult to decipher between model and mannequin in these works, given the uncanny resemblance. Gutierrez explores gender fluidity by inserting herself—a nonbinary transwoman—in the narrative to disrupt normative archetypes of femininity.
While a student at the Rhode Island School of Design, Gutierrez began working on the semi-autobiographical film Martine Part I-IX (2012—16). (The work is part of the 'Martine TV' project, available to view online here). In the film, Gutierrez presents a transformative self-reflection that navigates her journey from Providence to New York via Central America and the Caribbean. As she travels, the film portrays Gutierrez's negotiation between the permanent and the fleeting during her pursuit of self and places her at the centre of the narrative.
In 2018, Gutierrez produced a 124-page magazine titled Indigenous Women, dedicated to 'the celebration of Mayan Indian heritage and the navigation of contemporary indigeneity and the ever-evolving self-image.'1 Indigenous Women imitates and satirises the format of traditional glossy magazines by including advertisements, fashion spreads and an editorial letter. Gutierrez's design layout, paired with her subject matter draws attention to conventional beauty standards; she reveals the deeply rooted racism, sexism and transphobia that exist in our culture. This artwork was featured in the exhibition May You Live In Interesting Times (2019) at the 58th Venice Biennale in Italy.
In 2016, as part of a project called #MartineJeans, Gutierrez's photographs were displayed on billboards throughout New York City. In the photos, which mimic hypersexualized 1990s denim advertising, Gutierrez poses topless, wearing only jeans. Gutierrez's fictional campaign used traditional marketing strategies to question the 'use and mis-use' of queer representation in the media.
In 2016, Martine Gutierrez participated in a residency at the International Studio and Curatorial Program in Brooklyn, New York.
Martine Gutierrez's select solo exhibitions include Half Breed, Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco (2021—22); Passing, Josh Lilley Gallery, London (2021); Focus: Martine Gutierrez, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (2019—20); Indigenous Women, Ryan Lee Gallery, New York (2018); Humannequin, Anna Marra Contemporanea, Rome (2017); WE & THEM & ME, Contemporary Art Museum, Raleigh (2016); and Transcending Rhythm, McNay Art Museum, San Antonio (2015).
Group exhibitions include Limitless! Five Women Reshape Contemporary Art, McNay Art Museum, San Antonio (2021); Staging Identity: Between Masquerade, Body Staging and Role Play, Institut Mathildenhöhe, Darmstadt (2020—21); Queer Algorithms, Gus Fisher Gallery, Auckland (2020); The Cindy Sherman Effect: Identity and Transformation in Contemporary Art, Kunstforum Wien, Vienna (2020); Kiss My Genders, Hayward Gallery, London (2019); Fast Forward // Rewind, Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, Atlanta (2017); and Disturbing Innocence, FLAG Art Foundation, New York (2014—15).
1 Gutierrez, Martine. https://ryanleegallery.com/artists/martine-gutierrez/
Phoebe Bradford | Ocula | 2021