Patrick Martinez’s (Pop) Culturally Poignant Neon Signage

a dream deferred

A Dream Deferred

American Melting Pot 1 Chinese Mexican

American Melting Pot 1 Chinese Mexican

shit is sweet

Shit is Sweet

 

Los Angeles-based artist Patrick Martinez (previously featured here) not only works with the messages that are seen daily on Any Major Inner City Street USA, he also uses the favored communication method of the majority of these messages to give additional contextual weight to his artistic turns of phrases. While Martinez has been lauded as The Man in Art & Design 2013 (Complex Magazine), Latinos on the Rise as well as Artist on the Rise at Scope Miami, it seems to sell the artist’s work short by boxing it in to an ethnic or inner-city-only messages, considering the crux of his work focuses on themes (consumerism, globalism, mental and physical health, violence, money, race, and a multi-cultural future) which effect the broadest ranges of a global society. To simply state that he uses the vernacular of the disenfranchised would be limiting the unique, darkly-egalitarian perspective Martinez brings to his work, as well as the implication against an unnamed force that keeps the Everyman (no matter their ethnicity or background) from achieving the most basic of human goals. Martinez expands on this idea, “People feel it’s accessible, complex but it still invites. It’s like a kiss on the cheek and a punch to the gut all at the same time.  It’s not elitist, but relatable.”

While many of the artist’s works freely delve into multimedia (the combination of still-life realism painting with neon sign craftsmanship), Martinez’s works statement claims a simpler message. “Patrick focuses on the phenomenology of his surroundings. He brings sublime beauty to things that aren’t thought of as conventionally beautiful. He uses subject matter such as everyday people that aren’t usually painted into the limelight and elements of the city that would be thought of as objects we take for granted.”

Martinez’s upcoming exhibition, Buy Now, Cry Later at Public Functionary in Minneapolis, MN, promises to continue this tradition simultaneous cultural exploration and criticism. By focusing a glowing eye on the viewer, Martinez builds metaphors of consumption and the unending needs of Capitalism and the Human Spirit in the modern world. Buy Now, Cry Later opens Friday, November 15th and runs through Friday, December 20th.

Jim Hodges’ Chromatically-Mirrored Boulder Sculptures

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American artist Jim Hodges has always had an innate ability to impress ideas of time into commonplace objects, whether using napkins for drawings, silk flowers pinned to walls or collections of broken mirrors. In his work, Untitled (2011), metaphors for nature are again followed by human involvement, allowing for reflection from the smallest material interactions.

Comprised of four boulders which are capped with stainless steel veneers in gold, pink, lavender and blue, Untitled finds each stone arranged into a circular environment that directly invokes the viewer’s sense of space. Light and reflection play a role in the viewing, as colors meld and give the stones a surprising airy and weightless quality. Untitled’s colors were inspired by Hodges’ travels to India, where Hodges was enamored by the intense use of color, as he describes, “this layering, layering, layering of material, to the point where what’s being covered, its identity, seemed to start being erased by the accumulation of color.

Scale is equally important to Untitled, and speaks to themes of change and impermanence. The works are quite massive, with each boulder measuring close to six feet in height and collectively weighing almost 90,000 pounds. Collected in Massachusetts, before being brought to a fabricators in Upstate New York, the boulders were chosen specifically because they were carved and moved centuries ago by the glaciers which covered the North American continent. While the weightless quality is provided by the translucent hues, and the permanence of the heavy rocks is insinuated, Hodges deftly reminds us that nothing is immovable or permanent.

First displayed indoors at the Gladstone Gallery in New York City, the work was then moved to the Walker Art Center’s outdoor grounds to coincide with the Sculpture Garden’s anniversary, as well as an upcoming retrospective exhibition. Hodges retrospective, Give More Than You Take, is currently on view at the Dallas Museum of Art and extends through January  12th, 2014. The exhibition will then travel to join Untitled (2011) at the Walker Art Center. (via walker art center)

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Terrence Payne’s Narrative Paintings

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It is difficult not to imagine a narrative when seeing the work of Terrence Payne. The Minneapolis-based artist uses elements of design, iconography, typography, pattern and figure, all rendered in a decorative style and soft pallete but with subject matter that is anything but.  While the artist occasionally focuses on a central word or scrawled text behind the animals and repeating, archetypical figures, Payne’s paintings use loaded narratives that combine believable earnestness and well-intentioned antagonism.

To achieve the softness in the work, Payne first uses colored pencils to enhance the quality of light and jewel tones, then applies layers oil pastels which allows the the under-drawings show through. Payne says:

 ”I want you (the viewer) to see the mechanism of it. The idea is just how can I reinforce the sense of this being artificial, that these people aren’t real. They are just representations of what I am thinking about

Terrence’s recent work has been concerned with “cataloging the human effects of trying to keep your head afloat in an increasingly polarized world of haves and have-nots” and “examining a person’s perceived place in society” and how that affects the way the work is perceived. This most recent work will be collected in an exhibition alongside Nick Howard (previously here) called Cake, at the artist-collective space Payne helped found, Rosalux Gallery in Northeast Minneapolis (which was named Twin Cities’ Best Gallery in 2013). Cake opens October 12th and runs through October 31st.