Timothy Taylor, London: 30 March – 6 May 2017
Eddie Martinez: Cowboy Town
Timothy Taylor is pleased to announce an exhibition of new paintings by New York artist Eddie Martinez. Painted in the past few months the works capture a new wave of artistic responses from Martinez to the changing socio-political climate of the USA.
Martinez is recognised for the palpable energy of his works, which draw on the histories of painting yet are realised in an immediate, contemporary manner. Martinez’s canvases are loaded with coloured, quasi-abstract masses in varying densities juxtaposed against shifting lines, and are formed from oil paint, enamel, spray paint, screen painting and screen detritus. The resulting dynamic imagery moves and merges from figuration to abstraction and back again, giving rise to an almost subconscious narrative.
Gestures are strong but impulsive, the paintings full of energy and movement – images linger just of reach, eluding fixed identity. One of Martinez’s remarkable traits is his ability to intuit the general mood of the world around him and translate the sentiment very clearly to his painting.
In Cowboy Town the paintings are raw, pared back, exposed. Backgrounds are solid, with imagery almost hovering on top. The paint is thinner, the imagery sparser. And while palette is typical of Martinez – strong blues yellows reds – the underlying tone is sinister. The paintings are bright, but nonetheless capture a sense of darkness. In the title painting, Cowboy Town, a face emerges through colour and gesture with a distinct expression of foreboding, and dread.
‘The title, Cowboy Town, is definitely some sort of reaction to the current political state we are in, but I can’t tell if the title reflects the paintings or of the paintings reflect the title’ comments Martinez of the new body of work.
The title, Cowboy Town, bears numerous references. As with Island I, his last exhibition at Timothy Taylor, London, there’s an association with music, and specifically Rastafari culture. Music is always key to Martinez’s process. Mood and sentiment is processed through music, before entering the canvas. In this case, the Black Uhuru song be understood as a theme for the entire project.