MUST-SEE SHOW | EDDIE MARTINEZ “NOMADER” AT KOHN GALLERY, LA
One of our favorite young abstract painters here at Supertouch is Brooklyn-based artist Eddie Martinez, whose show of gorgeous new work, Nomader, at Kohn Gallerycould easily be mistaken for a MoMA retrospective if you managed to forget what building you walked into. At the tender age of just 37, he's an absolute powerhouse on a fast track to achieving Modern Master status with his gorgeous abstract paintings & sulptures with deep roots in midcentury AbEx.
Martinez draws his inspiration from a wide-range of sources, from the ever-evolving landscape of New York City to major art historical movements of the 20th century such as Abstract Expressionism, CoBrA, Neo-Expressionism, and Surrealism. An immediacy and physicality inhabit this work thanks to Martinez’s simultaneously gritty and graceful visual language. It’s a remarkably strong, muscular type of painting resulting from the influences of urban culture and the unrestrained emotionality of the modern masters.
Martinez’s work pushes the boundaries of what constitutes painting and, specifically, what comprises art. Traditional oil paint mixes with spray paint and the detritus of the studio: baby wipes, paper towels and gum wrappers are conspicuous in the textured landscape of these paintings. Vibrant color and expressive lines join together and dance around the composition, emitting a confident and powerful energy. Like the work of Philip Guston, Willem de Kooning, and Asger Jorn, pure abstraction and representation co- exist on the canvas, continuously giving way to each other and contributing to the overall power that is inherent in these paintings. This deft balance looks even further into art history as it recalls the carnal primitivism of the turn of the century’s avant-garde, and the graceful lyricism of the Abstract Expressionists.
Recent investigations have led Martinez to both small and large-scale abstract sculpture, made mostly from found materials including rubber hoses, Styrofoam, cardboard, and metal scraps sourced from wherever the artist is working at the time: Greenpoint and Bedford Stuyvesant in Brooklyn, or East Hampton and the North Fork in Long Island. In fact, all the work for this exhibition was made across these four different studios. The exhibition title Nomader is not only referential to his current art practice, but also autobiographical. Growing up, Martinez moved quite frequently and even lost his belongings on multiple occasions. Nomadism worked its way into the artist’s practice, informing the rich materiality and musculature of his work. This influence fueled an indefatigable evolution in the artist’s practice—a perpetual striving and searching that pushes the work against boundaries and convention.