Patrick Martinez: All Season Portfolio
Charlie James Gallery
969 Chung King Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90012
January 14 – February 18, 2017
There is a thing that cannot be helped in this moment, a sense that grief and protest, sorrow and refusal, death and joy are entangled states of necessary endurance. These truths, which have been centuries-long for the many, have become an acute reality for the seemingly spared and thus a quandary of what persistence/resistance looks like, how heartache/pleasure aesthetically manifest, and what the everyday can offer in the face of state-sanctioned violence.
Patrick Martinez’s solo show All Seasons Portfolio at Charlie James Gallery is surely this. Structured in something of a memorial (a painting of a wreath of roses shaped in a heart graces the gallery wall), Martinez offers the familiar—in design, hue, and object—as a source of architectural divergence. Nostalgia is critical in that departure, situating PeeChee folders, graphics, and neon signs as vehicles of dissent. Murders of unarmed latinx and black people are doodled onto the iconic PeeChee folders long distance runners, basketball players, and cannery background. The “useful information” inside of the folder is made life-size, denoting rights, responsibilities, and the conditions that may aide in keeping one’s life in relationship to police. Martinez also makes use of the neon signs that dot the cityscape, making culpable the iniquity of the nation and the regret of the apathetic. And Then They Came For Me, in a pulsating neon, is situated next to a painting of a wreath of roses shaped in a heart. As the sign emits a shadow and haunting reflection onto the pieces, which share the room Martinez funeral wreath, confirms the pageantry of consequence imbued in such remorse.
With the works boyle heights cake spot (2016) and funerals and birthdays (2017) roses appear again as proxies of devotion/lamentation. In boyle heights cake spot Martinez paints a corner of an ashen building, which features a vividly hand-painted advertisement for “Pastels Tres Leches Cakes.” A tiered cake wrapped in a string of roses sits below the phrase “a cake for all occasions.” Funerals and birthdays consists of a teal panel of stucco, adorned in ceramic roses that descend from the upper left corner and trace around another rose fabricated and framed in a neon border. Roses here are signifiers of remembrance in life and death, these arrangements are for love sanctified and love loss, with hues so ubiquitous they map scenes of all occasion.
All Seasons Portfolio is a body of work which refuses a realm of separation. The means and tools of the everyday, those habitual and nostalgic objects are also enmeshed in horrors and contestation. In a space named after the variability and shared sense of all seasons there is a call or perhaps a recognition that a continuity of abjection has remained a presence, a commonality alongside communities, people, populace which thrive and challenge those very bounds.