Christopher Henry gallery is pleased to present its first solo show of new work by New York based artist Max Carlos Martinez.
Self-trained artist Martinez explores the iconography of the West in this series of large scale works on paper. Contextualizing the American expansionist dream and its discontents, Martinez pictures Cowboys and Indians, Horses and Maidens, all rendered in saturated tracery. Building on and extrapolating from a wealth of scholastic imagery from the 50s and 60s, Martinez frames ideas of displacement, assimilation, and revenge, balancing a sense of historical despair with hope for a brighter future.
Deeply personal, Martinez’ work is animated by a longstanding tension in his own soul, as an “outsider” trying to find his place in the ever shifting landscape of American ethnic identity. A descendent of a four-hundred year legacy in New Mexico, Martinez finds himself simultaneously assimilated and lost-
in his own words, “left with a self that has become foreign.” These works are topographies of that state-pictures of a point in history where the past relinquishes its hold on the future, as seen from the vantage of one stuck in its grip.