In his new suite of paintings, Eddie Martinez finds a suitable platform for unloading his abundant imagination and blurring the line between traditional modes of painting. Sometimes uninhabited, otherwise replete with boxers and ping pong warrior-saints, tabletop landscapes are littered with an accumulation of studio detritus including a bowling ball, sunglasses, shoes, bottles, skulls, birds and plants that combine to become a disheveled portrait after a late night of work or perhaps some contemporary Brooklyn Belshazzar’s feast.
In his essay “A Paradox of Genre,” João Ribas asserts that Martinez’s work “reconciles the principles of modern painting – flatness and self-referentiality among them – with the pre-modern function of genre as a form of communication.” Ribas goes on to conclude that “by playing by the rules of genre, Martinez’s work legitimizes its own whimsical universe, one in which an overripe banana can effortlessly be turned into a parrot.”
The artist delineates the tone of each work by its background; whether thickly scumbled off-white voids or the foreboding weight of a burnt umber sky, each canvas is besieged by the over-riding vitality of the artist’s unmistakably raucous versatility. The artist’s lively vocabulary of subjects is matched in exuberance only by his endless palette and vibrant, effortless variation in paint application. Thin washes overlay lush impasto as spray-paint underlies oil stick — a vast array of mark-making further attesting to Martinez’s artistic bounties. As Ribas states, “[his] still lifes do not simply imitate the genre, but explode it.”
Martinez’s paintings and drawings have been featured in shows at the Athens Biennial; Blum & Poe, Los Angeles; Deitch Projects, New York; and Peres Projects, Berlin, among others. This exhibition coincides with the release of a two-volume, dual-artist hardcover catalogue featuring Eddie Martinez and Chuck Webster, co-produced by PictureBox Inc. The Martinez volume features “A Paradox of Genre,” by João Ribas, curator at The Drawing Center, New York.