Frank Martínez
September 3 - October 30, 2002
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These works are the fruit of a meditation on the importance of the various forms of oral communication that can be found in Cuban culture. The full range of support materials must be considered in order to fully grasp the relationships between expression-extroversion and repetition-mimicry.

Music, which is an integral part of the life experience within the Black culture, defines the essential individual characteristics of that population. In this case jazz, which is a product of cross-cultural influences and the appropriation of western patterns that have been grafted onto a totally spontaneous and unpredictable voice, will be viewed as the paradigm for the formal expression of a living culture that speaks from a peripheral place outside the mainstream. Both the graphic support and the drawings define my attitude toward these social phenomena, with semantic games where the text can be read within a metaphorical context.

The thread that connects the representation of the artistic object to the range of theoretical references mentioned above can be found in the close relationship that exists between the content and the formal solutions that allude to the same concepts inherent in the idea, such as the accident, the gesture, or intuition. I am interested in probing the sociological experience implied in these other extra-aesthetic functions of art, and reflecting on the actual process of creation.

-Frank Martínez

The work of the young Cuban artist Frank Martínez represents an energetic addition to the island's artistic production. His subject matter, which suggests a vision that is deeper than it is wide, includes social groups, country folk, and both popular and marginal environments, as well as recordings made of ordinary people that convey the value of the oral tradition, unprecedented pentagrams, and magical musical instruments, all of which are rendered in his energetic drawing style that, in general, reveals a strong tendency toward a morphological expressionism.

In spite of what might be construed from his use of archetypes, his focus on sociological concerns, and his descriptive view of ethnic themes, there is no hint of any essentialism in his art, nor does it reflect the recent superfluous and excessive tendency to portray Afro-Cuban influences from the clichéd perspective of a recurrent and facile iconography. Quite to the contrary, his artistic queries achieve a functionality by way of what I would call a strategy of restating the "sameness" that exists in today's global scenario, as well as on an island where, in spite of what I have said above, one still finds what I have described as "a critical examination of what is essentially Cuban and a sensitive quest for self-definition in the current changing landscape." (1)

-Carina Pino-Santos

(1) (Carina Pino-Santos. Fin de milenio. Nuevos artistas cubanos. [End of the millennium. New Cuban artists.] Havana, Editorial Letras Cubanas, 2002).

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