Eddie Martinez: Beach Bronze
Slat House, The Royal Poinciana Plaza
50 Cocoanut Row, Suite 122
Palm Beach, FL
Opening February 13, 2021
For inquiries, please call us at +1 646 831 0844.
Beginning February 13, Lévy Gorvy Palm Beach will present Beach Bronze, the first exhibition since 2016 to focus upon the sculptural works of Eddie Martinez. With the same vivid energy and expressiveness for which his paintings have attracted critical admiration, Martinez’s sculptures synthesize the influence of Abstract Expressionism and Surrealism into a unique visual language. The works on view at Lévy Gorvy are intimate in scale and clustered on various platforms throughout the space to give visitors the opportunity to explore them up close, in dynamic relationship to one another. Beach Bronze is organized in collaboration with Mitchell-Innes & Nash.
Martinez started creating sculpture in 2013, beginning by collecting materials found on Long Island beaches and on the streets around his then-Brooklyn studio: cardboard, wood, plastic, rubber, bottle caps, and metal grills, along with such marine detritus as old buoys and lobster traps. These raw materials were arranged into improvised configurations using hot glue, Styrofoam, and plaster, materials that became integral parts of the sculptural compositions. According to the artist: “A lot of objects I was finding already had their own life—they were already somewhat destroyed and in a unique shape. A half children’s scissor, a bottle cap—small. It was a way to approach sculpture without having to be a sculptor.” Martinez casts his assemblages in bronze, transforming their presence while preserving their forms. He then finishes his sculptures with paint, using oils, enamels, and spray paint.
Embodying the energy with which Martinez made them, his sculptures are configurations of form suspended in space, enacting dramas of juxtaposition, contrast, and counterpoise. While nonrepresentational, they suggest human and animal forms that parallel those found in his paintings. Abetted by Martinez’s commitment to aesthetic experimentation, and sense of humor, these sculptural works reward close looking.
In a defining essay on Martinez’s sculpture, curator Jon Wood positions the artist within a lineage of modernist painter-sculptors who have worked across media to further refine their practice. Martinez responds, “I’m not sure I see too much of a separation between painter and sculptor: when you lay down paint, depending on the thickness, you are creating a texture with an edge and that seems sculptural, gestural. For me I immediately think of David Smith, John Chamberlain, Jean Dubuffet and, of course, Pablo Picasso as some of the artists who seamlessly combined the two mediums in the way that I interpret the meaning of painter-sculptor.” The sculptures in Beach Bronze reveal another dimension of Martinez’s art, with works that stand on their own while enriching our understanding of his oeuvre as a whole.
Beach Bronze is the first exhibition dedicated to Martinez’s sculpture since 2016, when Timothy Taylor presented his work at Frieze London. An exhibition of paintings by Martinez is currently on view at Mitchell-Innes & Nash in New York.