Despite leaving the Caribbean in 1982, the sea has remained with Martínez Celaya as a ‘stowaway’. The artist writes ‘The sea was the end of all paths and the edge of all comings and goings, the reference point for conversations, and the all-absorbing witness of a history of colonialism and longing.’ In these paintings, the Martinez Celaya portrays the sea in its various moods: at times passive, at others exerting significant impact on the protagonists‘ journeys.
„The Mariner’s Meadow“ is the first show of Los Angeles-based Martinez Celaya with Blain Southern Gallery London. The show unveils sixteen previously unseen paintings, in which the artist focuses on the sea and its relation to the human subconscious.
Although often working in multiple mediums, including sculpture and the written word, the nature of painting and its capacity to create and sustain meaning remains one of the artist’s central concerns.
Martinez Celaya views painting as a sustained process of inquiry, and often significantly reworks an artwork several times over the course of months or years.
In The Prophet, the artist worked through a variety of species of sea creatures and human figures, before settling on the scene of a girl with one foot resting on a beached shark.
The accompanying catalogue includes an essay by critic Barry Schwabsky, a conversation between Martínez Celaya and the writer and psychoanalyst Anouchka Grose, as well as the artist’s texts and selection of poetry.