Wellesley’s Davis Museum opens its fall season today, September 19, with painter Eddie Martinez’s first solo museum exhibition, Eddie Martinez: Ants at a Picknic. It will include seven new large-scale mandala paintings, 17 painted bronze sculptures, and drawings.
A reception to celebrate the season opening will be held today from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., with remarks from President Paula Johnson at 6:50 p.m. in the Davis Lobby and Galleries.
A native of Groton, Conn., who now lives in Brooklyn, Martinez has displayed his work in the United States and in galleries and museums in Asia and Europe. This exhibition marks a full-circle journey for Martinez, who first showed his work in Boston in 2005. The painting Mandala #8 (Ants at a Picknic) headlines the show.
“The works in Ants at a Picknic make plain that Martinez has hit his stride,” said Lisa Fischman, Ruth Gordon Shapiro ’37 Director of the Davis Museum and curator of the exhibition. “The cosmic hooks, the summoning of spirits, the virtuoso line, the command of color and composition—it all adds up to its own kind of brilliance.”
Martinez starts his works with drawings in which he uses a Sharpie marker. He then blows them up and translates the “skeleton” in black silkscreen ink onto canvas before he accentuates his images with color, drawing, and other found elements.
In a statement, Fischman said: “Referencing the traditional Hindu and Buddhist representational model of the universe, Martinez’s mandala forms contain an artist’s cosmos: Eyes are everywhere, along with other signature motifs and moves, and ‘EM’ often appears. The paintings are possessed of an ambitious compositional dynamism, driven by a confidence of hand and by an improvisational skill in putting paint to canvas that far exceeds plotting.”
A special feature of the Martinez exhibition will involve the construction of an actual Tibetan Buddhist sand mandala by visiting monks from the Namgyal Monastery Institute of Buddhist Studies in Ithaca, N.Y. Beginning September 20, the monks will work to create the richly complex Medicine Buddha Mandala—a form imbued with powerful healing properties. Their work sessions will be open to the public. The final ritual step in the mandala’s completion is scheduled for October 11 at 3 p.m. at the Davis and will conclude at Lake Waban.
The new season at the Davis will also feature works from other artists. Patrons will get a first look at Hrair Sarkissian: Horizon; Martin Luther: Protest in Print; Life on Paper: Contemporary Prints from South Africa; Soong Mayling: Paintings; and David Teng Olsen: Smoked my Head on Yes Waters. Olsen is an associate professor of art at Wellesley.
The Eddie Martinez: Ants at a Picknic exhibition and catalogue are realized with generous funding from Wellesley College Friends of Art at the Davis, The Helyn MacLean Endowed Program Fund for Contemporary and South Asian Art, The Mildred Cooper Glimcher ’61 Endowed Fund for the Curatorship of Contemporary Art, and the Davis Museum and Cultural Center Program Endowed Fund; with additional support for the catalogue from Timothy Taylor, London, and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York.
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