By EMANN ODUFU October 30, 2023
In recent years, Martinez has cemented himself as a distinguished painter who has maintained that perfect balancing act of excelling in the market, holding the attention of curators at top institutions, and staying on the radar of top-tier collectors and art advisors. Amid all of this, he has somehow remained unclassifiable.
Martinez's work is grounded in an almost Zen-like exploration of the intuitive nature of drawing and art creation. In the process, Martinez joins painting, drawing, and abstraction with faint traces of figuration in a non-traditional way. Martinez's compositions are filled with various gestural marks, spray paint, studio trash, cartoonish subjects, invented anecdotes from his personal life, such as "Buflies" alongside elements of abstraction.
His practice reflects elements of historical movements such as action painting and neo-expressionism. Martinez's visual language constructs a fantastical world of his own understanding through many playful drawings, bold paintings, and endearing creature-like bronze sculptures. His practice is constantly being revitalized and transformed regularly.
For this showcase at the IFPDA with illustrious printing studio ULAE, known for their collaborations with artists including Robert Rauschenberg, Cecily Brown, Ed Ruscha, etc., Martinez will display a series of 8 monotypes where he employs a process akin to silk printing, an element which has become a pillar in his practice since 2015.The monotypes explore the Bufly form. This invented figure/symbol first appears in 2021 after Martinez hears his toddler mispronounce the word, Butterfly. From that moment, Martinez has been obsessed with using this invented creature that resembles a butterfly but is not quite one in his painting and print works.
“Working with Monotypes is particularly interesting as an artist because elements of the process mimic a painting, in the sense that you're building up textures on the plexi plate, but the end result is an entirely different creation.”- says Martinez
His monotypes often begin with a bulbous outline to create each Bufly form. As part of his printing process, he paints watercolor on clear plexi plates, creating sections of color and achieving a sense of texture that recalls his canvas works. Instinctive in his approach, Martinez has harnessed his visual language and recurring motifs - including the “Buflies” - across his entire artistic practice.
Most of the monotypes included are an edition of 2. The first of which is a more vivid representation of Martinez's “Bufly” via the print transfer process and the second which exists as a ghost print, as the watercolor transfer is slightly more subtle in its coloration. Because of the color variation between the two editions each monotype is a unique work on paper.
ULAE and Eddie Martinez have been collaborating since 2018, marking the 5-year anniversary of their collaborative partnership, and the first time that Martinez has experimented with the “Bufly” form as a monotype. WM
Emann Odufu is a freelance, emerging art and culture critic, curator, and filmaker who has written articles about assorted art shows over the past year. His work can be found in publications such as the NY Times, Hyperallergic, Brooklyn Rail, Office Magazine and Document Journal. Most recently he has curated Money, a solo exhibition of artist Samuel Stabler, currently on display at the National Arts Club.
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