In Conversation with America Martin: Unearthing the Bold and the Beautiful Through Her Art

In Conversation with America Martin: Unearthing the Bold and the Beautiful Through Her Art

Photo by Julia Stotz

Photo by Julia Stotz

America Martin has a tremendous passion for color and the human figure and wants you to know it. Upon seeing her visually commanding canvases this fact becomes highly evident, the works which are sensually lush and incredibly bold, possess an intense bravura that immediately strike the eye. A painter and sculptor, at 35, Martin is a born and bred Angeleno currently based in Silver Lake, who is deeply drawn to classicism, and considers herself an "old school" artist. Although one can find references to Picasso's gestural lines, Matisse's breezy color palette, and Leger's voluptuous figures, Martin's singular and distinct style fully envelopes the spectator. There is a beautifully and thoughtfully layered relationship between antiquity and modernity in Martin's oil and acrylic-based pieces, an understood appreciation for classic nudes while simultaneously infusing jazzy and melodic elements onto the canvas.  Hints of her Colombian ancestry and respect for indigenous culture emerge as well, adding to the complexity and refinement of her artistry. On the occasion of Martin's exhibit at the inaugural edition of CONTEXT New York, I have a deeper conversation with the artist about her career, Los Angeles, and her Latin origins.

Martin's recent solo exhibit 'This is America' was held the JoAnne Artman Gallery in Laguna Beach, CA. She also participated in the Affordable Art Fair NY last month. Martin will be preparing for an upcoming solo show at JoAnne Artman's Chelsea gallery in New York slated for November 2016.

Photo by Julia Stotz

Photo by Julia Stotz

Gallery Gurls: Talk to me about your recent solo exhibit ‘This is America’, what is the essence of this show?

America Martin: ‘This is America’, is my sixth solo exhibition with the JoAnne Artman Gallery in Laguna Beach. The show was a combination of revisiting subjects that I have long found inspiration in, such as women and the female form, and also pushing the boundaries by experimenting with new materials and developing a new narrative, while finding processes that challenge and engage more skill and focus. It is such a joy to work with the gallerist JoAnne Artman, as she is someone who is truly invested in your work and process and loves art almost as much as you do.

Handmade Japanese Paper, Collage and Acrylic on Elephant Paper, 40 × 79 in, 101.6 × 200.7 cm.

Handmade Japanese Paper, Collage and Acrylic on Elephant Paper, 40 × 79 in, 101.6 × 200.7 cm.

Currently, there is this incredible wave of female figurative painters, there have been so many stellar shows by female artists between 2015-2016, how do you feel being a part of this moment?

Figurative work is classic and timeless. I have always been drawn to line, shape, and form. This is a special time to be a working female artist. And I feel so fortunate to be making art at this time, looking and learning. Just being generally excited about this year as an artist.

The Hold Up, 2015. Paper Collage, 44 × 83 in, 111.8 × 210.8 cm.

The Hold Up, 2015. Paper Collage, 44 × 83 in, 111.8 × 210.8 cm.

You are first-generation American with Colombian roots, how does your Latin heritage enter your work?

One’s heritage is similar to one’s fingerprints, they affect everything you touch, although you might not be aware of it. Therefore, if I am drawn to boldness, to color, to joy, these are attributes that one could call my own nature or that is inspired from the love of my cultural background.

"One’s heritage is similar to one’s fingerprints, they affect everything you touch, although you might not be aware of it."

Vroom II, 2015. Paper Collage, 48 1/2 × 87 1/2 in, 123.2 × 222.3 cm.

Vroom II, 2015. Paper Collage, 48 1/2 × 87 1/2 in, 123.2 × 222.3 cm.

How does it feel to be a native Angeleno and be in the midst of the current art renaissance sweeping Los Angeles? 

Los Angeles, has long been a place for self-discovery and transformation. Los Angeles has the space needed for artists to spread out and to experiment. I love the eclectic wealth of people and experiences that this city can offer and feel lucky to be here now working and learning right alongside other great artists.

"Los Angeles, has long been a place for self-discovery and transformation. Los Angeles has the space needed for artists to spread out and to experiment."

Four Horns in Red, 2015. Oil and Acrylic on Canvas 50 × 97 1/2 in, 127 × 247.7 cm.

Four Horns in Red, 2015. Oil and Acrylic on Canvas 50 × 97 1/2 in, 127 × 247.7 cm.

Women & Cherry Trees. Acrylic on Black Linen 55 × 110 in, 139.7 × 279.4 cm.

Women & Cherry Trees. Acrylic on Black Linen 55 × 110 in, 139.7 × 279.4 cm.

In Conversation with Fahren Feingold: The Sensual and Whimsical Muses in Her Watercolors

In Conversation with Fahren Feingold: The Sensual and Whimsical Muses in Her Watercolors

In Conversation with Firelei Báez: Her Wondrous Exihibit 'Bloodlines' and Her Exploration of Black Womanhood

In Conversation with Firelei Báez: Her Wondrous Exihibit 'Bloodlines' and Her Exploration of Black Womanhood