MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART , GEORGIA
G A T H E R E D I I I
WILL FEATURE THE FIRST TWO IMAGES OF THIS SERIES
Commissioned by George and Shelley Esquivel: Savannah, Eva and Benny Esquivel are featured in the watercolor painting/graphite drawing on watercolor paper 3ft. x 4ft. It took me 3 years to create this piece because I made many, many attempts and discarded them prior to landing on this composition. Fortunately, the Esquivel's were very patient clients who allowed me to have carte blanche with their commission. It's hangs at Esquivel Shoes Headquarters in Southern California.
Esquivel Commission (detail) : Savannah Esquivel
Esquivel Commission (detail) : Benny and Eva's hands.
Esquivel Commission (detail) : Eva's face was inspired by a Native American Indian woman painting I found at the Indian Territory Gallery in Laguna Beach.
Esquivel Commission (detail) : Eva's hand and foot.
Esquivel Commission (detail) : Eva's hand and foot .
Esquivel Commission (detail) : Benny Esquivel
PALINDROME : a word or phrase which can be read backward and forward, LEVEL or RADAR.
ORIGIN : c.1620-1630; Greek palíndromos recurring, equivalent to pálin again, back +dromos running
FOLLOWING PALINDROME : a personal concept that expresses a human being’s action toward, or relationship to a perfect, symmetrical, examinable constant, that may be inflected for mood, voice and agreement, with the subject: God.
The concept of God has been the subject of my work for the past 9 years; at the same time it continues to be the subject of debate and conflict throughout the post-modern world. For me, God continues to be multifaceted, personal and yet an examinable constant.
As time passes, the Bible continues to surpass trends of thought while seizing the hearts of many. This fascinates me. How is it that such an ancient concept continues to be controversial and relevant worldwide, as well as an internal impetus for many today?
With this in mind, my images address basic issues of the relationship of the human and the divine, in the person of Jesus Christ, and the applicable nature of “God” to post-modern thinking.
Upon looking at my work you will notice that it is devoid of emotion, to suggest the pure nature of God, as He continues to present Himself to me. The art is meant to be fact and not fiction. Each image is a palindrome, which represents the covenant that God has made with Himself, symmetrical in nature and can be understood from all directions. A palindrome is the closest construct that represents the infinite nature of God. It has 3 parts, a beginning, a middle and an end, which for me is symbolic of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit as one. Therefore, a palindrome depicts an actual reality that is spiritual, yet physical within the soul of each believer.
Some of my palindromes are still lifes, created in pairs that flank a central space. The objects signify the before and after affects of God entering a person’s life. When you look at a Christian, you cannot see his or her transformation to Christianity, but the internal structure of the soul has been altered. Thus, there is the slight change from the first image on the left to the second image on the right. The second image, the conversion, has become more in focus and more detailed. The empty space, the dark framing between the two drawings becomes the actual reality within the soul of each believer. God is flanked by the objects which serve as occupied territory in our hearts, separating us from our former transgressive nature. This territory is empty, depicting where the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit reside.
In my artistic practice, I seek to represent several facets of God’s character and how He changes people’s lives through personal relationships with Him. Working with biblical concepts over the past few years has lead me to believe that when our eyes see absolute truth, we are forever changed, even when that change cannot be detected. I hope to present a contemporary interpretation of the relevant and personal God of the Bible; Jesus Christ working in and through our lives today.
I thank God for His wisdom and the opportunity to translate His teachings into pictorial form.
FOLLOWING PALINDROME consists of 4 series
Influenced by Mexican Folk Art, these charms are thought to be intermediaries to the divine. Each charm or talisman is usually placed on an altar or next to a photo of a person needing to be healed. For example; those who are confused about their life path would purchase the foot to serve as a guide and incorporate it into a shrine. For me, the image and form of the devotional charm has evolved over time. This reveals that, the interesting aspect of the miracle is not the point at which one is “healed,” but rather when the physical surrenders to the divine and realizes that nothing needs to be attained; the miracle was there all the time.
I entered a phase of silence and stillness. I restricted the flow of stimulation my body received so I could hear the whispers of my emotions. The monochromatic palette reflects my spiritual understanding. As a result, these paintings are a strong deviation from the first series. As I became more comfortable in my body and observed my surroundings; helicopters and battleships became faint symbols of rescue and elevation. The bold vertical lines represent the interruption of my thoughts, like static on the radio. I refused to listen until I realized that static was not the trespasser, it was part of the message. My decisions, what I wanted to communicate to you the viewer had to be clear and strong enough to be felt over what I had already painted in the past.
I am fascinated by these hair spirals. They came from my body, but they have a life force of their own. The spiral has a beginning, and an end. The cyclical nature of life is captured by the hair which appears to be in motion, living through its own phases of growth and discovery. The hair itself is protection and aides healing, growing, for example, back around a wound as it heals. Sometimes I would find that two spirals are joined, or that two separate spirals overlap, I presented them that way on the canvas; I like the concept of two entities being one, joining and separating without breaking. My idea of a doppelganger is a love affair with this other entity. Like twins, an individual journey of self discovery clarifies and deepens the union when rejoined. Not a literal lover, this doppelganger is a part of me and therefore a part of the one I love, and over time I will see the truth in my lover/my twin - all of me.
A palindrome can be a number, 22822, or a word, “level” or “radar.” A strand of DNA when read from one end is the same as the sequence of the complimentary strand read from the opposite end. It is the same thing backwards as it is forwards, with a common element at the center. But, to me a palindrome is also emotional, spiritual and ideological synchronicity. Unlike the doppelganger, opposition has nothing left to grasp. This connection, if found between two people creates a union of which only pure faith can exist as the centrifuge.
I painted a state in which restlessness and anxiety have no meaning or power, and the journey from pain to pleasure and back to pain has no purpose. I did not imagine the idea of a palindrome, I followed a finger -- something small and quiet, yet powerful when I was ready for the guidance. There is symmetry in love with my palindrome. I represented this love with the red-headed twins, symmetrical and synchronized, with God at the center. I can only describe the pure luxury of this love as God, or a breath that lasts thousands of miles.
GRACE AND GRAVITY: The Story of Queen Make-Believe and Her Broken Winged Donkey
These paintings, completed over a 2 year period, are about magic, truth, flight, depth, the invisible, beauty and the supernatural. They also deal with issues of dishonesty, gravity, seduction, avoidance and illusion. This work reflects my desire to escape a tumultuous period in my life through artificial means. The imagery that I have chosen is representative of my attempts to lift myself out of this earthly realm. Wings designed for flight that would never get off the ground and stilts that were made to elevate but could only reach so high, are symbolic of the ways in which I have tried to rise above the chaos and failed. The animals represented are visual interpretations of my inner self as it is grounded by gravity. A symbol of denial and the donkey a beast of burden, represents the stubborn diligence in which I pursue my escape. Ill-conceived efforts to elevate my spirit and get closer to Grace, however, gave me a greater hold. These paintings reflect the struggle of the spirit to rise authentically while the body is still physically present in the world.
While painting this series, I came to see myself as Queen Make-Believe, a name that refers to my childhood preoccupation with fantasy and a tendency to accept illusion as reality. With every step toward Grace and each artifice abandoned, my paintings reveal my journey, layer by layer. The physical weight of the donkey is lightened and replaced with the transparent flightless bird. Perhaps in the end, as Grace triumphs over Gravity, I will become a rising Phoenix, an invisible bird whose legend is everlasting.
B I O
For a bit less than a decade, Pamela Diaz Martinez designed for Esquivel, a luxury shoe brand based in California, with a roster of celebrity clients. Designs were featured in major fashion magazines, newspapers and blogs, such as: Vogue, The Wall Street Journal, Esquire, Men’s Health, Marie Claire, LA Times and others. In late 2015 after her last major commercial project, Pamela left the fashion industry and returned to her love: drawing and painting.
With experience teaching art to elementary through college level on the East and West coasts, Pamela discovered a wellspring of inspiration working at religious schools with students who worship and discuss God on a regular basis.
In 2014, Pamela's experimental work was featured along side Odd Nerdrum, Steven Assael and Jerome Witkin in an exhibition representing Southern California Figurative Art. Over the years she served as a guest lecturer, panelist and was asked to speak at The Bakersfield Museum of Art in April 2015 about her most recent body of work also featured in the museum.
Pamela lives and works in Atlanta, Georgia.
MFA: Arizona State University, 2004
In addition to the many group shows on the East and West Coasts,
Solo Exhibitions include:
Latino Art Museum - Pomona CA
BCSPACE GALLERY - Laguna Beach, CA
Concordia University - Irvine, CA
Latino Arts Inc. - Milwaukee, WI
TO PURCHASE PAINTINGS or FOR SPECIAL PROJECTS CONTACT:
Pamela Diaz Martinez Copyright 2017- All Rights Reserved.
Art Writer : Roberta Carasso for The Bakersfield Museum of Art , 2015
Artist : Pamela Diaz Martinez
Several years ago, Pamela Diaz Martinez created symbolic landscapes and portraits in oil paint on canvas and then on leather. At that time, she portrayed the constant human pull between the physical and the spiritual. She called these Palindromes, like a word that is the same whether read forwards or backwards; meaning: that no matter how a person sees him or herself, there is always the indecipherable tug of the body and the soul, pulling in both directions. Of great concern to Martinez was to find ways to express, through art, the theological and the secular, the invisible in the visible world. Perseverance, contemplation, and profound exploration led Martinez to deepen ways to express and expand the idea of Palindrome.
At the Bakersfield Museum of Art her current drawings reveal the results of that search –depictions of intense weather patterns created by her method of using marks by erasure. Following this current pathway, Martinez portrays the presence of the formless yet real, Holy Spirit, the immutable in our everyday surroundings.
At first glance Martinez’ images are a vertical landscape format of a ground and sky. All the drawings have a floating form that are either contained or expand beyond the borders of the sky. These consistent forms were inspired by weather, in particular: the sand storms of Arizona (where she grew up) and the tornados of the south. Each drawing is meant to illustrate the literal power of a storm hovering over the earth. In the history of the last century, artists have taken the literal and transformed it into the abstract. In her drawings, Martinez reverses the process and takes the abstract, such as the Holy Spirit, and depicts it literally.
To capture the affect, when the reality of the Holy Spirit is impossible to convey with concrete media -- such as paint that dries and adheres to a surface -- Martinez chooses not only to render a drawing with a drawing implement, but spend much of the creative process erasing the art. Erasing a drawing is what is called reductive drawing. Traditionally, drawings are rendered by an additive process as material is placed on a blank ground. But Martinez’ art is at first additive and then mostly subtractive, as she removes much of the medium that had been placed on the surface. For her, the subtractive method is the most synonymous way to convey the permanent yet invisible, Holy Spirit. Not relying on traditional tools, she is forced to pay more attention to the pressure of the mark and to the subtle movements of her hand; and, of course, to the results.
Martinez works on Duralar. Duralar is a cutting-edge surface, the latest in industrial coated technology. It acts and reacts in ways paper cannot. It does not tear, is semi-transparent, and for Martinez’s drawings, Duralar allows light to pass through the surface. Working at times on the floor, at her desk, or even by placing a drawing on a wall, Martinez begins her magic.
With a cotton ball, and sometimes a goat’s hair brush, Martinez applies to the Duralar surface Pan Pastels, an art medium that comes in cake format, in a variety of colors. Her gestures are contemplative as a gentle hand meticulously builds the varied dusty pastel surface. Small intimate labor-intensive strokes begin to form, linear pastel marks that represent the power of the Holy Spirit. Martinez orchestrates the drawing with pastel marks, and erasures, going back and forth building the image. Her subtractive process comes about using from 15 to 20 different shaped erasers, from a tiny vinyl Japanese eraser to a traditional kneaded eraser. She removes pastel marks and increasingly makes the surface rich with linear strokes.
At the end of the process, pastels are traditionally sprayed with fixative to ensure that they adhere to the surface. To retain the intimate nature of the Holy Spirit, Martinez takes a challenging artistic risk, and does not spray the drawing. Rather, she leaves the surface vulnerable to weather and to anyone’s touch. In this way, Martinez seeks to portray artistically how the Holy Spirit occupies space, whether seen or not. Thus, Martinez addresses the subject of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity in Christian theology.
Martinez grew up in Arizona and received a BS in Education from Northern Arizona University and an MFA from Arizona State University. She found that many of her professors encouraged purely conceptual expression, while others were interested in formal representation. Her broad artistic background and her religious transformation led to the work she creates now. Martinez has taught art classes at Saddleback College and high school, preparing teenagers for the demands of an art curriculum in college. Martinez has had solo exhibitions at: BC Space, Laguna Beach, CA; the Latino Art Inc. Milwaukee WI; and the Latino Museum in Pomona, CA. Recently her drawings were included in a figurative drawing show at Mount San Antonio College, Walnut, CA. Martinez is dedicated to creating art when she is not teaching.
Lastly, Martinez would like viewers to revisit the concept of the Holy Spirit with an open mind while abandoning preconceived notions about this famous religious concept and icon traditionally taking several forms, one of them being the dove.