Mario Martinez’s artwork always pays reverence to nature through the influences derived from his deeply rooted Yaqui cultural background and allure to Western Modernism. The visual density of his paintings in his solo exhibition The Desert Never Left “The City”reflect upon the magic and power encoded within the spiritual and natural eco-systems conceptualized from an ancient pre-Christian Yaqui belief system. In doing so, Martinez vibrantly conflates his enduring Sonoran desert memory and Yaqui culture organically and abstractly through his lasting relationship to New York City’s contemporary urban environment.
About the Artist: Mario Martinez was born in Phoenix, Arizona and grew up in Penjamo, a small Yaqui village in Scottsdale. He received his BFA degree at The School of Art at Arizona State University in 1979 and his MFA from The San Francisco Art Institute in 1985.
In 2005, Martinez had a retrospective that was part of an exhibition series called New York: New Tribe featuring New York based Native artists at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in New York City. In 2007, Martinez created a lithograph as part of the Art in Embassies, a collaborative project between and the US State department and the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC. His work was recently included in The Old Becomes The New: New York Contemporary Native American Art Movement And The New York School. His work has been included in institutional and private collections here and abroad.