Griffin Contemporary is pleased to announce an exhibition of new paintings by Enrique Martinez Celaya. As a visual artist and author, Martinez Celaya boldly expresses his personal convictions in work that is deeply philosophical. All six paintings in this show, along with work showing concurrently in New York at Danese Gallery, will form the basis of a traveling museum exhibition curated by Dan Siedell at the University of Nebraska's Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery.
Margo Timmins from the musical band Cowboy Junkies will perform at the reception. An enthusiast of Martinez Celaya's work, Timmins will sing an a capella version of the traditional "Mining for Gold" -a song that resonates deeply with the paintings in the exhibition.
These striking new paintings are made on canvas covered with emulsified tar. On the black tar, white paint turns gold, brown, rust. The unpredictable interaction between the tar and the paint becomes a metaphor for the way our own experience is integrated into memory and personal history. The images -thin white line drawings of the figure, a tree, a house- read like an annotation of experience, a fragment of an event, a trace. The paintings in this exhibition form a body of a work entitled "The October Cycle" -a name emerging from a meditation on the period of transition between childhood and adulthood.
In addition, a new publication by the artist, entitled Guide, will be released in conjunction with the exhibition. Guide is a fictionalized account of a trip taken by the artist and his mentor up the West Coast. Part I of this two-volume book contains a dialogue addressing difficult philosophical questions dealing with the meaning and purpose of art. Part II includes a suite of ten black and white photographs.
Enrique Martinez Celaya was born in Cuba and immigrated to Madrid as a child, where he studied painting at the academy. He received his undergraduate degree from Cornell and studied Quantum Electronics in the graduate program at UC Berkeley before returning to painting. After earning his MFA at UC Santa Barbara, he studied at Skowhegan School of Art, Maine. He is currently living and working in Los Angeles and teaches in the Art department at Pomona College.
Martinez Celaya was the 1998 recipient of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art's "Art Here and Now Award." His work may be found in a number of permanent collections including those of LACMA, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Houston Museum of Fine Art, and The Rosenkranz Foundation, Germany.
Enrique Martinez Celaya
Coming Home, 2001
Tar, feathers and mirror