By Pierson Brown
Brian Martinez “Indigo” The Joseph Watson Collection
A refreshing glass of water on a hot First Friday, “Indigo” splashes you in the face immediately. An entire room covered in shades of blue, too many to count. The paintings, the walls, the furniture, hell, even the host was soaked in indigo. This leap of faith, by itself, sets this gallery showing visibly apart from any other going on, but his work is just as strong.
Taking inspiration from his Mexican-American upbringing, the works are lovingly crafted and vibrate with a sad nostalgia. Like a memory seen in the reflection of a pool, they wash over your senses. Depicting everyday people and places with the splendor of royalty and luchadores, Martinez works to explore every crevice and cove that blue has to offer. The rhythm and waves of each piece work to achieve that goal.
The three largest pieces each speak for the mission of the show in different ways. “Cardboard Crown” delves into the color exploration, while depicting a young man with a crown and cape. With a strong posture, it mimics those paintings only commissioned for the highest in power, kings and lords. A large luchador holds a young woman as dedicated linework draws out the strength and softness of “Corazon Mexicano en Tierra Americana”. The final piece is a blue haze centered around three young women in the back of a car, “Buy the ticket, Take the ride” vibrates softly, drawing you in with questions of what ride they could be on.
What I found truly compelling about this gallery show was that his work sketchbooks were left on the table for viewers to enjoy. They chronicled his process, allowing the audience to have a much more intimate experience, as you could compare painting to a page, one to one. Additions like that always excite me, because it shows the immense amount of work, effort, and thought that was put into this showing.
Martinez has consistently put out stunning work for years, but this show upped the ante. He had the chance to use a gallery room, and he utilized every inch of the space. A brave and delicious set of work, “Indigo” is still up at the Joseph Watson Collection in the Arts Factory. Make sure you get a chance to indulge your senses at this fantastic show.