The Davis Museum at Wellesley College is pleased to present Eddie Martinez: Ants at a Picknic, the artist’s first museum solo exhibition. The installation includes a suite of seven new large-scale “mandala” paintings, accompanied by a range of table-top painted bronze sculptures and large drawings.
Eddie Martinez (b. 1977) has been critically lauded and widely collected for his dynamic linear abstraction, exuberant color, and a vocabulary of idiosyncratic reiterating forms. Inspired by a mashup of visual culture sources, from fine art to popular culture, his work in every medium—painting, drawing, sculpture, and print—is impossible to mistake. Martinez’s paintings build from a distinctive process: the artist starts with small drawings, blows them up and translates the “skeleton” in black silk-screen ink onto canvas; he adds color—varying from impastoed dabs to sweeping washes in oil, marine enamel, and spray paint—and often affixes drawings and other textural materials to his surfaces. The drawings are an essential “biographical, journalistic tool” in his process, and “make their way into the painting studio and feed the paintings, [where] sometimes they get glued directly to the paintings.” The artist says, “I carry them around and poach different marks and moves. Some of them go straight onto my ‘drawing wall’ which at times houses up to 500 drawings all mashed up on and over each other.”
The New York Times art critic, Roberta Smith, praises Martinez’s “exceptional gifts as a painter and draughtsman.” Painter and critic David Salle applauds the artist’s “innate compositional intelligence” and his “painterly intelligence… really something different from all else, from conceptual framework and technological innovation. What’s interesting is that it is still hard and when it works it resonates.” A full-color catalogue, designed by the award-winning firm of Stoltze Design, accompanies the exhibition with contributions from Lisa Fischman, Ruth Gordon Shapiro ‘37 Director of the Davis and exhibition curator, and Jim Lewis, Austin-based novelist, critic, and arts writer.
The exhibition and catalogue are realized with generous funding from Wellesley College Friends of Art at the Davis, The Helyn MacLean Endowed Program Fund for Contemporary and South Asian Art, The Mildred Cooper Glimcher ’61 Endowed Fund, and the Davis Museum and Cultural Center Endowed Fund; with additional support for the catalogue from Timothy Taylor Gallery, London, and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York.
Eddie Martinez – Studio Wall
Drawing Room Oct 13, 2017 – Feb 04, 2018
Eddie Martinez’s drawing practice blends seamlessly with his daily life as the New York-based artist carries pen and paper with him on the subway, to the doctor’s office, and to restaurants and lectures, among other work and leisure events. Stylistically evocative of mid-century abstraction, Martinez’s drawings bring their own complexity, plugging a rotating cast of characters into raw, vigorously-drawn landscapes: cartoon ducks, oversized eyes, coiled snakes, and anthropomorphic blocks of color are among his itinerant motifs. In his Brooklyn studio, Martinez maintains a “drawing wall,” wherein sketches ranging in size, shape, and material serve simultaneously as a source of inspiration and a data bank for the artist’s incessant imaginative output. The Drawing Center’s forthcoming exhibition Eddie Martinez: Studio Wall, will bring the drawing wall to the museum. The artist will paper the gallery with thousands of sketches that he will change throughout the exhibition’s run. In addition, several large drawings and paintings will be hung on top of these sketches allowing viewers to observe the interconnection between all aspects of Martinez’s practice.
Organized by Claire Gilman, Chief Curator.
Eddie Martinez: Studio Wall is made possible by the support of Beth DeWoody, Jeannie and T Grant, Barbara Toll, Bruce and Robbi Toll, and Craig Nerenberg.
Special thanks to Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York, and Timothy Taylor Gallery, London.
Image: Eddie Martinez, Untitled, 2015. Silkscreen ink, oil paint, spray paint and enamel on canvas, 72 x 60 inches. Courtesy of the artist, Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York, and Timothy Taylor Gallery, London.