Patrick Martinez Explores the "Ghost Land"
The more Patrick Martinez takes his dense, urban-centric work into the white walls of a gallery or museum, the more emphatic his messages become. When I interviewed Patrick a few years ago, on the cusp of a few major instituitional moments for the LA artist, he told me something that seems to resonate so perfectly with Ghost Land, now on view at the ICA San Francisco. "I guess I'm tapping into the land, right? That's my whole idea with these pieces that I'm making with the stucco, the neon, the tile and all that, taking materials from the land to create the landscape. Sampling those sections. That specific orientation, or the way I'm composing it, is specific to LA."
The way he overlaps neighborhood aesthetics, the messages he conveys, writes and repurposes into neon signage, or just the way he constructs large-scale, mixed-media paintings, Martinez seems at this best in space. It gives the viewer a chance to walk around the universe, let's you understand a familiarity and weight of what you are seeing. It's as if Martinez is taking chunks out of Los Angeles and sending them out into the world beyond the southland, a sort of story that is still writing itself. —Evan Pricco