Currently on view at Mitchell-Innes & Nash in New York, artist Eddie Martinez has opened a show of new works, many executed during the lockdown of 2020. Continuing the artist’s energetic and expressive investigation of the potentials between abstraction and figuration, the show sees him taking stock of his work, exploring all that he’s achieved in his art.
The works explore a range of expressions and materials that have been long absent from his practice, returning to an art dominated by people, places and things. Figures are rendered in black and white, and lent a certain familiarity in their depiction that seems to rupture the perception of the body and its rules of depiction. The work equally depicts a sense of the body in debt to his own evolution and exploration of his work as a painter, reveling in a new mastery of his skills and ideas. The themes are still rooted in tradition and art historical precedents, yet are expressed with a contemporary sensibility. Yet tropes and concepts from the history of abstraction persist, filling his colorful works with a sense of shred histories and ideas.
In the context of so many colorful canvases, his works stand out as contrasting exercises in looking, forcing the viewer to contend with the image and understand not just what is depicted, but how we are to understand that same depiction, and its rules. Charred with gestural inflections and vivid brushwork, the artist’s pieces create a sense of space and movement as specifically constructed, yet free to move through a series of instabilities and breaks in the understanding of the image as a whole.
Challenging the way in which we understand the lines between abstraction and the body, Martinez’s work allows a new perspective on his own work, and his reflection on his position in the history of painting. The show closes February 27th.
– D. Creahan
Eddie Martinez at Mitchell-Innes and Nash [Exhibition Site]