Oscar Martinez’ accomplishments and stature as one of the highly acclaimed Latino American artists of his generation are well-documented. He has participated in many collaborative and solo exhibits as a muralist and oil painter in both the United States and Latin America, compiling prestigious awards along the way. Martinez has generously given back to his constituents, from showcasing the Latino student struggle through his recently restored mural, “Asi Nos Unimos, Nuestra Victoria”, located in the University of Illinois – Champaign campus, to founding the Latin American Museum of Art in Chicago, and chairing various civic- and government-sponsored art events. In recognition of Martinez’ life-long body of work and myriad contributions to promoting Latino heritage, he was recently featured in the book, Puerto Rican Americans by prolific author Nichol Bryan, who also cited celebrities Jennifer Lopez and Ricky Martin.
There is no hiding that the vibrancy of Martinez’ colors and wanderlust brushstrokes, as exemplified in his last exhibit, “Journey, A Solo Exhibition of Paintings”, sponsored by the Aurora Public Art Commission, are deeply rooted in his Caribbean upbringing and the rich gumbo of cultures it evoked. Martinez’ esoteric themes, as in the oft-recurring striped female in flora setting, are a cornucopia of contradiction, struggle and assimilation transcending the metaphysical aspects of one’s existence. Their mystery and intoxicating phantasm are deeply rooted in the creator’s Latin genus. There is no mistaking that.
Yet, to typecast Martinez as the quintessential Latino artist does injustice to the constant evolution, dynamism and universality of his body of work. I have known Oscar’s depth of immersion in spirituality and metaphysics, initially through my purchase of his “A SpaceTime” () piece that hangs over our fireplace. We have since spent weekend visits that often culminated in discourses over the essence of molecular being, time and space to the transcendent mysteries of life and death. These attributes are aptly demonstrated in his upcoming “Small Paintings” exhibit at the Pastiche Gallery, and a sequel exhibit at the Union League Club of Chicago this coming October 1st. We invite you to stop by both exhibits and enjoy a master’s artistry so vibrant, mysterious and complex yet impossibly serene to the senses.
Complementing the “Small Paintings” exhibit on April 27th, we have also planned a concurrent wine-tasting event for the Friday opening night. Martinez works will also be up for private viewing the rest of that weekend. Wine host aside, friends are also welcome to bring and share their favorite bottle of wine. Special “metaphysical” hors d’oeuvres will be served by my brother and co-host Ro Tavas.
Perstiche Art Gallery