Mexico Week: José Antonio Martínez
One of the pleasures of attending the FotoFest 2018 Biennial Meeting Place Reviews was meeting reviewers from around the globe who journied to Houston to celebrate and appreciate photography. I am so grateful to gallerist Patricia Conde Juaristi, of the Patricia Conde Galleria in Mexico City, Mexico for sharing a week of Mexican photographers with the Lenscratch readers. The gallery has specialized in contemporary photography since 2009, and is currently the only Mexican gallery focused on promoting various photographic practices. Today she shares the work of José Antonio Martínez– Aline Smithson
José Antonio Martínez, obsessive photographer, eternal seeker of aesthetic, finds among the wings of the birds the beauty of a dead being and a striking visual image, whose richness of color and texture results overwhelming. The spectator suffers the outburst and urges to contemplate, one by one, the perfect symmetries and the undeniable majesty contained in the pieces of this series.
The birds, now immobile, were arranged in a scanner to become disturbing images that preserve the vigorous splendor, the sumptuous coloring, the eternal presence of the beautiful to arouse a memorable experience in the memory.
José Antonio Martínez was born in Mexico City on February 4th, 1950. He graduated cum laude as an Industrial Designer by the Universidad Iberoamericana; Throughout his extensive career as a photographer, he has made several solo and group exhibitions in Mexico and abroad.
Among his solo exhibitions include: Arqueología del s. XXI (Patricia Conde, Galeria, Mexico City) Montag entumecido (Patricia Conde, Galeria, Mexico City), part of the program “FotoSeptiembre 2011; Elegía (El Atrio Gallery, University of Guanajuato, Guanajuato, Mexico), held within the 37th Cervantino International Festival, 2009; Todo ángel es terrible (Museo de Arte de Santiago de Querétaro, Querétaro, Mexico, 2009) and Las güeras (Universdidad del claustro de Sor Juana, Mexico City, 2009).
Silent, reflective and interested in the great mysteries of life, José Antonio has developed a creative concept in which the description of reality is an excuse to activate the evocative meaning of the image. A great connoisseur of technique, his photographs reveal a particular sensitivity to death, the beauty of objects and human behavior.
His work is part of the collections of the Northeast Photo Center, Seattle; Photographic Centro Fotográfico Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Oaxaca; Wittliff Photography Gallery of the Southwest and Mexico, University of Texas Library, San Marcos, Texas; Museo de la Estampa of Toluca, Mexico; Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego, California.
I express myself only through images. Through them I can materialize dreams, experiences and memories. It is in my photography where I find my life and from there I understand it. Looking through a lens became, from a very young age, the shield that allows me to wander and observe with attention, with that attention characteristic of a child’s curiosity, the world that surrounds me to try to understand it.
Death has been an obsession; death in all its edges, from all angles. Physical death, decadence, the deterioration of objects and the different manifestations and readings that have been given since the beginning of time. Death surrounds us stealthily and speaks to us in all possible ways.
In the work Every Angel is Terrible, taken from the extraordinary poem by Rilke, my approach to death is with respect to honor, to beauty; it is almost a tribute to the bloody feathers of a bird or the decomposition to which it has arrived by means of the wind or by the indifference of the living beings that, stuck in their daily lives, forget that the world is made of small events. In this work I wanted to show the extraordinary majesty of the plumage that represents the strength and freedom now lost.
In the work of Archeology of the XXI Century I approach the subject of the physical death of an object. How is it possible? So, simply. That which was once state-of-the-art technology is annihilated by the same technology that invented it. We have been forced to consume increasingly sophisticated devices, created for a specific function that, once it has been fulfilled, must be replaced by others that in turn have a near expiration date.
The conclusion is that death, decay and deterioration are inevitable.- José Antonio Martínez Gómez
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