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Eddie Martinez explores addition by subtraction in new exhibition at the Bronx Museum of the Arts
Eddie Martinez, Yesterday, 2018. Silkscreen ink, oil paint and spray paint on canvas, 75 x 96 inches. Private Collection. Courtesy Timothy Taylor, London.

BRONX, NY.- The Bronx Museum of the Arts is presenting White Outs, an exhibition by artist Eddie Martinez, which is on view November 14, 2018 through February 17, 2019. Widely recognized for his large-scale paintings, Martinez has built a consistent body of work over the last decade, successfully merging the tradition of American abstract painting with the energy of the street. These paintings began as Sharpie drawings, then were blown-up, silkscreened, and painted over in a careful, yet unfailingly dynamic, process of layering and expansion. In these new works, created especially for this exhibition, Martinez introduces a new element to his process—the “whiting out” of parts of the composition. It is a move that represents a significant turning point in his career.

Erasure has been an important practice since the origins of art. X-rays of paintings by old masters, for example, often reveal ghostly images underneath. But what might have originated from necessity evolved into an effect often referred to as pentimento, and in 1953 became a celebrated trope when Robert Rauschenberg transformed a drawing by Willem de Kooning by blurring its lines.

The idea of whiting-out, or erasing portions of a composition, might come with connotations of destruction or defacement, but not so with Martinez. The artist regards the act of removing or obliterating painted elements not as an end in itself, but as an integral part of the process of creating a painting—a constructive, rather than destructive, act. He is aware of how reductive the process of building an image can be, whether abstractly in the brain, or physically in the studio.

The works in White Outs were inspired by the shapes and compositions formed on walls that have been painted over with mismatched hues that seem to take on a life and form of their own. The process in his studio follows a similar evolution, as the artist continuously looks for those points of resistance in the work to inform and guide the process forward.

The Bronx Museum of the Arts will release an exhibition catalog around Eddie Martinez’s show, with an essay by Frieze Magazine’s Associate Editor Evan Moffitt.

Eddie Martinez: White Outs has been organized by Antonio Sergio Bessa in collaboration with Eddie Martinez.

Born in 1977 in Groton, Connecticut, Eddie Martinez currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

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