Eddie Martinez You Come Up Short, 2016. Estimate: £200,000-300,000.
New Now, London.
Eddie Martinez is a contemporary American visual artist known for his monumental expressionist paintings. For almost two decades Martinez has created raw, energetic canvases influenced as much by street art as by Abstract Expressionism and canonical art history. Like artistic icon Jean-Michel Basquiat, to whom he has been frequently compared, Martinez’s work effortlessly fuses painting and drawing, abstraction and figuration, historical references and modern media in original and electrifying ways. While Martinez has received critical recognition for his “exceptional gifts as a painter and draftsman, which he exuberantly combines” (Roberta Smith, The New York Times, 11 February 2010, online), he has also cemented a reputation for being “wholly committed to abandoning people’s expectations” (Eddie Martinez, quoted in Nick Ravich, ‘New York Close Up’, Art21, 2012, online).
An exceptional, energetic, and dynamic example of the best of Martinez’s work, You Come Up Short exemplifies the artist’s constant and playful dialogue between the realms of drawing and painting; between high art and low art, incorporating aspects from his graffiti days – spray paint and elements of the everyday- onto his highly worked, brightly colored, oil paint canvas. The unfiltered frenetic mark-making is contrasted with carefully thought out and implemented composition and use of color and paint, influenced by popular urban culture, Abstract Expressionism and Surrealism. Constructed with oil impasto, layers of silkscreen inks, enamel, thumbtack, palette paper, metal and spray paint, the work oscillates between figuration and abstraction. “I’m kind of dancing around this thing, doing it as quick as possible, and just letting the marks fall where they fall” (Eddie Martinez, quoted in conversation with Barry McGee, Interview Magazine, September 2014).
I don’t want anyone to feel obligated to think anything. I don’t have anything in particular in the work I want people to see, I want it all to be interpreted.
— Eddie Martinez
In his immediate application of form and color, alongside his use of considered yet wandering automatic lines, the viewer is reminded of Willem de Kooning’s weaving brushstrokes and Joan Miró’s surreal scenes. The artist once expressed, “I don’t want anyone to feel obligated to think anything. I don’t have anything in particular in the work I want people to see, I want it all to be interpreted” (Eddie Martinez, quoted in Kate Tiernan, ‘Eddie Martinez: “I just want people to interpret the work how they want,”' Studio International, 20 April 2014, online). Through a truly intuitive and unique application of paint and line, Martinez creates scenes of both chaos and wonder.
Martinez has been honored with solo exhibitions at respected museums and institutions, including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit (2019), the Bronx Museum of Art, New York (2018), the Drawing Center, New York (2017) and the Davis Museum, Wellesley (2017). His work now forms part of eminent public collections such as the Saatchi Collection in London and the Morgan Library and the Bronx Museum of Art in New York.