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The work of Eddie Martinez

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Martinez’s painting is a way of recording the chaotic nature of life into paint, to be analyzed and observed later. What Martinez offers is not a theoretical concept that can be proven or disproved. Something more mysterious and inexplicable is happening here, based not in hard facts but in the very nature of the soft mutability of paint. Martinez navigates an ocean of information with instinctive talent, and defies the ability to pin down and clarify.

Martinez’s paintings come out of a practice of drawing that almost never stops, a steady outpouring of imagery. Filtering through the background noise of contemporary life and aligning it with the past, the references for a Martinez painting pop in from everywhere. The longer one spends with his works, the more one absorbs that this is a renegade paint form, and the constant movement is why Martinez paintings feel so fresh yet simultaneously classic.

Organizing his thoughts physically on the canvas, Martinez isn’t afraid to attack the surface with bold brushwork and then scrape away at and carve into it, obsessively adding and canceling, layer upon layer. Constant learning, from both art history and contemporary art activities, is absorbed into his character to the point of habit. Daily life ephemera, conversations, thoughts, ideas are all recorded in the paint, and his spontaneity gives the carefully worked paintings their raw feeling.

Martinez has developed his own distinct style with a personal iconography of recurring motifs that he both repeats and transmutes. Like his wild-eyed blockheads, monolithic figures that are at times cracked open by a sword, or joined by other blockheads in a gazing stack. Avoiding all pretension, a continuous story spreads out across his work, developing from one series to the next, while all the while reveling in the sheer beauty of the paint.

View more from his 2008 Show at Loyal in Sweden.