Eddie Martinez - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale Hong Kong Saturday, November 23, 2019 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Zach Feuer Gallery, New York
    Private Collection, Miami
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    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he has been frequently compared, Martinez’s work effortlessly fuses painting and drawing, abstraction and figuration, historical references and modern media in original and electrifying ways.

    Martinez has been critically acclaimed 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” (quoted in an interview with Nick Ravich, in digital documentary film series ‘New York Close Up’, Art21.org, 2012, online) - a declaration pursued throughout Martinez’s artistic practice, from his roots as a graffiti artist to his cryptic subjects and unorthodox creative methods. Essentially self-taught, Martinez has spoken of his art as an extension of his innermost emotions and struggles: “Certainly, at times I can’t control how the anxiety and impatience and aggressive energy comes out” (the artist quoted in an interview with Artnet, ‘It’s Sort of Like a Boxing Ring in Here’: Watch Artist Eddie Martinez Wrestle His Way to a New Painting, 27 December 2018, online).

    Almost Lost #4 is testament to Martinez’s maturity as an artist. Layers of Martinez’s signature dark and complex iconography emerge in Almost Lost #4 – a sun and blue skies; the skeletal silhouette of a bird-like head and reddened lips; abstract gestures, objects and symbols piled atop each other. Simultaneously portrait, still life and landscape, Almost Lost #4 references the automatism of Surrealism, the cave paintings of art naïf and the rawness of art brut, executed with a subversive ease and lightness. Martinez appears to funnel his inner impulses directly onto canvas like the Abstract Expressionist action painters Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning, but eschews the gestures and clichés of painterly abstraction for something more visceral and unsettling. Like Basquiat, Martinez’s work process is deceptively purposeful and considered. Drawing is central to Martinez’s work and he draws constantly – using a Sharpie pen on a small notepad, napkin, or whatever else might be to hand, enlarging and screen-printing the final image onto canvas before he begins painting.

    Almost Lost #4 showcases the vivid brushwork and bold, tactile contours which are hallmarks of Martinez’s work. His practice blends media such as oil, acrylic, enamel and spray paints, applied with an aerosol can or with thick impasto brushstrokes and further manipulated in a variety of ways: wiped, scraped, scratched both dry and wet - an intuitive process with the artist stepping towards and away from the canvas “like a boxer diving in and out of confrontation” (observed by Artnet, 27 December 2018). The textured, disfigured layers of paint testify to the passionate, even primal, nature of Martinez’s creative process:

    “It’s sort of like a boxing ring in here—it’s a very physical process. […] Maybe I’m a little addicted to that. It’s a real way for me to work things out, outside of just the actual painting.” (the artist quoted in an interview with Artnet, 27 December 2018)

    Martinez has been honoured with solo exhibitions at respected museums and institutions, including the Bronx Museum, 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 in New York.


Almost Lost #4

signed with the artist's initials and dated 'EM.12' lower left
oil and spray paint on canvas
182.9 x 152.4 cm. (72 x 60 in.)
Executed in 2012.

HK$1,000,000 - 1,500,000 

Sold for HK$5,550,000

Contact Specialist
Charlotte Raybaud
Head of Evening Sale, 20th Century & Contemporary Art

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

Hong Kong Auction 24 November 2019