Alfred Martinez

Alfred Martinez lives in New York City where he works from his Chinatown studio. His mixed media wall paintings are created on soft satin fabric that hangs loosely on the wall. The compositions incorporate photographs, dyed stains, embedded digital frames, sound effects and emissions of colored light from baskets attached to the satin surfaces. Each piece ranges in horizontal size, from approximately 4’x 6’ 4’x 8’ft. of space. These are self illuminated paintings which are designed to be seen in a dim light context.

Baskets are an important image to Martinez’s paintings. He became interested in baskets in the Oceanic section of the Metropolitan Museum, and again on a train in Mexico when he saw women selling woven wicker baskets by the side of the railroad. Using baskets in the paintings immerse Martinez in a process of physical facture, following light, object and image in a kind of spiritual painterly ritual not unlike a pre-historic shaman making cave paintings or a medieval artist making stained glass windows. He feels that today everyone is a shaman using digital media to connect and transcend daily reality. His use of digital and sound media in his paintings is about a way of negotiating the present.

Alfred Martinez was raised in Texas and graduated from Southern Methodist University with a BFA in painting. As a graduate student at Syracuse University he was awarded a graduate fellowship to do research work in Europe. It was at this initial stage in his development that his painting became three dimensionally oriented in content. His first New York exhibit in 1977 featured his “Real Painted Object’s theme. In the mid eighties he was part of the brief “Club Art” movement in New York City, which dealt with art as a socializing experience. Many of the images in this exhibit come from the New Jersey Shore area and others from the Southwest.