Eddie Martinez: Beach Bronze
Lévy Gorvy, Palm Beach
February 13 - March 4, 2021
Eddie Martinez: Beach Bronze (2021) at Lévy Gorvy, Palm Beach, was the first exhibition since 2016 to focus on the artist’s sculptural works. With the same vivid energy and expressiveness for which his paintings have attracted critical admiration, Martinez’s sculptures synthesize the influence of Abstract Expressionism and Surrealism into a unique visual language. The works, intimate in scale, were presented clustered on various platforms throughout the space to allow visitors to explore them up close and in dynamic relationship to one another. Beach Bronze was organized in collaboration with Mitchell-Innes and Nash.
Martinez began sculpting in 2013, using materials he collected from Long Island beaches and from the streets around his then-Brooklyn studio: cardboard, wood, plastic, rubber, bottle caps, and metal grills, along with such marine detritus as old buoys and lobster traps. He arranged the raw materials into improvised configurations using hot glue, Styrofoam, and plaster. These became integral parts of the sculptural compositions. According to the artist: “A lot of objects I was finding already had their own life—they were already somewhat destroyed and in a unique shape. A half children’s scissor, a bottle cap—small. It was a way to approach sculpture without having to be a sculptor.” Martinez casts his assemblages in bronze, transforming their presence while preserving their forms. He then finishes his sculptures with paint—using oils, enamels, and spray paint.
Embodying the energy with which Martinez made them, his sculptures are configurations of form suspended in space, enacting dramas of juxtaposition, contrast, and counterpoise. While nonrepresentational, they suggest human and animal figures that parallel those in his paintings. Abetted by Martinez’s commitment to aesthetic experimentation and sense of humor, the sculptural works on view rewarded close looking. Beach Bronze revealed another dimension of Martinez’s art; his sculptures stand on their own while enriching our understanding of his oeuvre.