Patrick Martinez (b. 1980 Pasadena, CA) lives and works in Los Angeles. In spring 2023, as part of White Cube’s ‘Introductions’ online programme, the artist presents an exhibition of mixed media painting and neon work.
Martinez’s large-scale abstracted landscape paintings, reflect the visual language of East Los Angeles and the changing nature of the artist's local community. Collaging elements from vernacular architecture with aerosol paint tags and references to, for example, Nahua, Aztec and Mayan mythological forms, the paintings unearth a hybrid sense of people and place.
Fabricated to mirror commercial signage and inspired by words and phrases from 20th-century black American literature, civil rights speeches and anti-slavery oration, Martinez’s neon sign works create contemporary forms of political expression. His acrylic on panel ‘Cake’ paintings memorialise social justice leaders, activists and thinkers, colliding the history of portraiture with everyday confectionary. In his ongoing ‘Pee Chee’ series, Martinez appropriates the well-known, high school folder that depicts traditional drawings of students engaged in sports and other safe youth activities by adding portraits of black and brown people who have lost their lives to police violence.