Martine Gutierrez is the EIC of her Epic Narrative in Indigenous Woman
Martine Gutierrez’s solo show Indigenous Woman at the Ryan Lee Gallery, ended in late October, but there was no way I could allow that show to escape my digital grasp. I saw the show on two occasions, and was gutted every time I viewed it, because images of a breathtaking, indigenous, brown, trans woman commanded the space. Gutierrez created an epic fashion magazine, a September fashion issue no less (oversized like Interview or V Magazine), which celebrated her Mayan Indian roots, from cover to back page. Fashion magazines celebrate cis, white, thin female supermodels and actresses ad nauseum, and Gutierrez rejected those norms by making herself the sole muse throughout the issue.
The magazine cover is vibrant and bold, Gutierrez simply stares at you demurely in thick, green braids, and a colorful tinsel headdress. Inside the glossy magazine, self-produced faux brand campaigns, fashion stories, beauty spreads, and an editor’s letter informs the viewer on Gutierrez’s intersectional perspective. One ad called Covert Girl for mascara has the tagline, “Maybe She’s Born With It. Maybe It’s White Privilege.” Just fucking genius if you ask me. There is a black and white fashion story set on a wealthy estate, where Gutierrez dons many roles, a servant, a sex kitten, yet is interacting with mannequins. Her fluidity is rich, she can shape shift and navigate all the gender and racial biases society throws at marginalized bodies.
Several provocative images from the Indigenous Woman publication are on view as large-scale, photographs around the gallery. In some images she resembles a sixth Kardashian sister, in other images she is a Mayan goddess, looking queenly in full-on indigenous regalia. Gutierrez’s Indigenous Woman was a monumental exhibit to say the least. Because a trans woman of color is having a major solo show amongst the overly blue-chip, predictable, art that saturates Chelsea.
Martine Gutierrez’s Indigenous Woman was on view from September 6, to October 20, 2018 at Ryan Lee Gallery.