Eddie Martinez: Cowboy Town at Timothy Taylor Gallery
An exhibition that is both experimental and visually compelling, Eddie Martinez’s Cowboy Town is a subversive foray into quasi-abstraction.
With a focus on materials and spontaneity, it’s hard to see rhyme or reason in his paintings. The hypnotic blend of oil, enamel and spray paint coupled with bold strokes leaves a playful exploration of the subconscious, and the challenge to derive meaning is half the fun of this artist’s style.
Much like Rorsarch’s ink splatters, we’re introduced to the depths of the unconscious mind, where strange partially realised images gnaw at our brain to identify them. It’s work that compels viewers to think and react as quickly as the painter himself did, and it’s surprising what our knee jerk reactions uncover.
The charm of Martinez’s creations lie in his self-assured boldness, and is referenced as having the “ability to intuit the mood of the world around him”. The personal iconography that’s often seen in his earlier pieces is more broken down here; darker and abstract figures appear blurred within the mass of paint, and there’s a creeping sense of unease.
Citing music as one of his biggest influences, the themes of the Black Uhuru’s songs are present throughout the artist’s latest display, and it’s an important contextualising reference. From this starting point, it becomes easier to pick out Rastafari culture through colour and line. However, by the very nature of it’s conceptuality our ability to understand these references could simply be a by-product of cognitive priming, and as a result we fall into the chasm of subjectivity.
On close inspection, Martinez’s textural layers manage to include a certain degree of dirt. It’s an interesting step away from traditional ideas of “gallery finished” work, and the fact it grates with so many people highlights how curated our ideas of exhibition spaces are.
Whether or not it’s a metaphor for morality or simply a by-product of a dirty studio is debatable, but Martinez makes the debate a pleasurable one.
Eddie Martinez: Cowboy Town is at Timothy Taylor Gallery from 30th March until 6th May 2017, for further information visit here.