Filled with amorphous forms and psychedelic coloring Mario Martinez's new show "Toward a Distant Dawn" at the Martha Otero Gallery is a feast of patterns and light. His monumental paintings are filled in a stream of consciousness style with galaxies, vortexes, and mathematical patterns all blending together into a seamless whole. Varying between meticulously rendered forms and barely there brush strokes Martinez allows the eyes of the viewer to assemble the image in their mind and then dissect each of its countervailing parts to find deeper complexity. Within each painting one can discern the orbits of planets and the structures of crystals, the shape of molecules and the repeating patterns of the ancient Greeks. In his truly original bronze sculptures Martinez really shines, showing us intricately detailed vessels that resemble both Islamic tile art and the shapes of molecules. They also seem to be almost mechanical, as if at any moment they may twist and turn themselves to reveal a hidden treasure within. Each sculpture is covered with repeating patterns, some organic, others geometric, that blanket each piece in concentric circles and conjure up images of ancient pottery.
Overall this show was a view into altered states of consciousness and the realms that lie beyond our day to day awareness, seeking the ineffable and sublime. Martinez is trying to show his audience the connections between all levels of reality from the microscopic to the macrocosmic and across all time.
Photo credit: Ian Rosenzweig