Eddie Martinez: Inside Thoughts at Mitchell-Innes & Nash

Eddie Martinez
Inside Thoughts
Mitchell-Innes & Nash
534 W 26th Street, New York 10001
January 21 – February 27, 2021
All images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York

In her essay for the exhibition catalogue, Phyllis Tuchman writes:

“Martinez’s latest group of paintings, many executed during the lockdown of 2020, are works in which he practically takes stock of all he has thus far achieved in his art. They reveal, too, a new mastery of his skills and ideas. The themes are still rooted in tradition and art historical precedents, yet are expressed with a contemporary sensibility. As for representational imagery and abstract principles, that dialogue continues.

Martinez has returned once again to an art dominated by people, places and things. Take the heads that he has rendered in black and white. They’re summarily depicted yet so familiar. Look again and you’ll notice that the artist is breaking the rules of composition.

In the context of so many colorful canvases, the White Outs stand out as exercises in looking as we peer to discern what has been portrayed. There are heads to decipher as well as things (flowers in a vase). Three people are seated at a table in their Sunday best. The woman has on a hat; the man is in shirtsleeves held together by cuff links. Check off two categories. They’re gathered with foodstuffs arranged like still lifes.

And then there are tables tilted as if they were being envisioned by Paul Cézanne. With their surfaces crowded with objects they are a cross between things and places. Looking at Martinez’s recent works calls to mind the opening lines of T. S. Eliot’s Burnt Norton. In the first of his ‘Four Quartets,’, the poet wrote: ‘Time present and time past / Are both perhaps present in time future, / And time future contained in time past.’

Think about it. Eddie Martinez is making visual poetry.”