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Transits and Contrasts. The Sculptures of Pablo L. Martínez

By Raisa Clavijo

On April 6, The Americas Collection will inaugurate “Transits,” a selection of recent works by the Cuban artist living in Barcelona, Pablo Leonardo Martínez. The sculptures, created in wood, with metal insertions, are the result of his analysis on the relationship between form and beauty. For Martínez, beauty does not consist of following an aesthetic canon, but rather it is the harmony generated by the interplay between the contrasting qualities of the materials he uses.

Pablo Leonardo Martínez, Composición Relieve No. 11 (Composition Relief No. 11), 2017, oak, walnut wood and stainless steel, 14” x 3” x 17.7.” All images are courtesy of the artist and The Americas Collection.

In this exhibition, circular and elliptical assemblages prevail. In order to create them, the artist has selected noble woods such as oak, elm, iroko, walnut, wenge. He then inserts pieces of stainless steel or iron through these structures. In this way, the warm tones of the wooden surfaces, at times smooth, at others rough and grooved, coexist in the same piece with the strength and coldness of the metal.

Artist Pablo Leonardo Martínez is exhibiting at The Americas Collection, in Coral Gables.

“These sculptures have been created utilizing elements connected to each other, objects and forms that live on in my memory,” Martínez comments. “They suggest references to the vision of different universes and of the elements that comprise them: the macro, the curved, the geometric, chaos and its harmony.” The intention of the artist is to always transmit inner energies, the expression of a sentiment, of an emotion, materialized through the confrontation and coexistence of opposites.

Pablo Leonardo Martínez, Bifurcador de deseos (Wish splitter), 2018, oak wood, 17.3” x 12” x 59.4.”

“Transits” includes works created from 2012 until now. Several of the pieces are numbered (Relieve No. 11), as if making reference to a series in which each sculpture is a proposal, a solution, an experiment with the material. In others, the titles allude to moods, to the energy of the individual in dialogue with nature and other human beings (Absorbedor/Difusor, Generador/Obstáculo/Escudo, Vibración elíptica). The titles of some of the works suggest a certain affinity on the artist’s part for the legacy of Surrealism (Bifurcador de deseos, Composición volante). Martínez’s work is not surrealistic, but he is attracted to psychic automatism as a creative resource, allowing the free and unconditional flow of emotions and thoughts to materialize in the form of works of art.

Pablo Leonardo Martínez, Generador, obstáculo, escudo (Generator, Obstacle, Shield), 2012, iroko wood and cast iron, 57” x 25” x 8.”

In a recent interview, Martínez shared with me that in his youth he had a drawing teacher, Lia Kaufman, who spoke to him about psychic automatism, about the legacy of André Breton, of Carl Jung; about the importance of dreams and oneiric visions. She taught him about the need to seek one’s own hallmark, one’s own language.

Pablo Leonardo Martínez, Composición volante II (Flying Composition II), 2018, iroko and beech wood, stainless steel, 24” x 19.6” x 82.6.”

I believe that one of the great values that Martínez’s oeuvre demonstrates is his extraordinary capacity for observation, for capturing the infinite possibilities offered by each material; each form that he obtains and its relationship to chance and to his own moods. In his work, everything is part of a continuous process, whose end objective is the pursuit of equilibrium and harmony.

Pablo Leonardo Martínez, Relieve No. 12 (Relief No. 12), 2017, oak, walnut and stainless steel, 13.7” x 3.5” x 17.7.”

“Transits” opens on April 6 and will be on view through May 30, 2018. The Americas Collection is located at 4213 Ponce de Leon Blvd. Coral Gables, FL, 33146 | Phone: 305 446 5578 | www.americascollection.com.

Raisa Clavijo is an art historian, critic and curator based in Miami. She is the editor-in-chief of ARTPULSE and ARTDISTRICTS magazines.