Eddie Martinez - New Now New York Wednesday, March 9, 2022 | Phillips

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  • "[My flowers] are still life paintings. Except, they are not from life. They are these fantastical flowers…I think the freedom comes with color and shape."
    — Eddie Martinez

     

    Presenting a theatrical build-up of forms converging into a vivacious bouquet of flowers, Eddie Martinez’s I Feel Alright, 2007, is a quintessential example of the artist’s highly diverse practice. Martinez refrains from adhering to a singular painterly style or specific period, opting to look all over the canon of art history for guidance instead. The result of this practice manifests itself in I Feel Alright, an early work that epitomizes Martinez’s desire to merge the contemporary zeitgeist with that of prominent images in art history that preceded him, from Henri Matisse's Bouquet (Vase with Two Handles) to Philip Guston’s still lifes. 

     


    Henri Matisse, Bouquet (Vase with Two Handles), 1907. State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg. © 2022 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

    Martinez was twice enrolled at the Art Institute of Boston, but ultimately rejected the constraints of a formal art education by spending most of his time outdoors and honing his graffiti skills. Reminiscing about his affection for the medium, Martinez recalled, “I learned a massive amount from graffiti that I’ve taken into the studio.”i Martinez’s proclivity for street art, cartoons, and graphic illustrations is readily apparent in the equivocal forms and bold colors that appear to be a product of improvisation and spontaneity in I Feel Alright

     

    As much as Martinez’s idiosyncratic painterly style is influenced by street art, I Feel Alright is firmly rooted in the canonical history of painting that has inspired the artist throughout his career. “Genre painting’s revitalized role plays an important part in Martinez’s work. He looks to genre painting to confront tradition, negotiating its vocabulary and pictorial conventions through the modernist logic of subjective, individual style,” João Ribas observed. “It is by rethinking portraiture, still life, and allegorical narrative, these symbolic eighteenth- and nineteenth-century genres, that Martinez pairs traditional structure with self-generated imagery. The results are dense but playful paintings, revolving around his signature motifs.”ii

     

    Flowers have been a notable subject for Martinez, resurfacing habitually throughout the artist’s oeuvre since conceiving such works as I Feel Alright. While his recent flower subjects reflect more of the influence of Bernard Buffet and Roy Lichtenstein with their brutal/heavy outlines, his earlier iterations including the present work evoke the colorful gesturalism of Abstract Expressionists such as Willem de Kooning and Joan Mitchell. 

     

    Martinez has revealed that CoBrA—the European counterpart to the Abstract Expressionist movement—was a profound influence in terms of his unique painterly process. The artist recounts that “the speed and abandon of control” and “the allowance for spontaneity” ties his practice to that of two of CoBrA’s leading members, Karel Appel and Asger Jorn. Through his keen sensibility of channeling various practices that have shaped the art historical canon, Martinez brings to life an amalgam of modern and contemporary traditions under his painterly hand as lushly manifested in I Feel Alright

     

    i  Eddie Martinez, quoted in “‘It’s Sort of Like a Boxing Ring in Here’: Watch Artist Eddie Martinez Wrestle His Way to a New Painting,” Artnet News, December 27, 2018, online.

    ii  Eddie Martinez, quoted in Chuck Webster and Dan Nadel, eds., Eddie Martinez, New York, 2008, p. 5.

    • Provenance

      ZieherSmith, New York
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Literature

      Glenn O'Brien, Eddie Martinez: Paintings, Los Angeles, 2013, p. 150 (illustrated)

31

I Feel Alright

signed with the artist's initials and dated "EM • 07" lower right; signed, titled and dated ""I FEEL ALRIGHT" E Martinez 2007." on the reverse
acrylic, spray paint and oilstick on canvas
60 x 48 in. (152.4 x 121.9 cm)
Executed in 2007.

Full Cataloguing

Estimate
$150,000 - 200,000 

Sold for $352,800

Contact Specialist

Avery Semjen

Head of Sale, New Now

212 940 1207

[email protected]

New Now

New York Auction 9 March 2022