PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES
Photo © Copyright 2014 Anthony Almeida
I recently had the pleasure of photographing, in his studio, André Martínez Reed, noted artist, gallerist--world class percussionist. A deeper exploration of Andre's many inspired works, was quick to reveal within his canvasses, vague entities-- spiritual or otherwise. These diffuse images, often surrounding the main portrait, provide a segway into a mystical world which we may not have anticipated upon first viewing, but are emotionally and aesthetically compelled to explore.
"If you understand your painting before you start it, then you might as well not paint it"
"I believe, to understand the workings of the Spirits roaming the Universe, one must first become aware of its existence. Once you do, it is only a matter of stepping through the door. It is impossible to look back, as you explore your subtle surroundings and realize the wonder of all the infinite possibilities that exist around us. As an artist, you need not labor to capture the unexplained in a photograph or in a painting. With openness, it's presence makes itself known. Be open and keen, then your work will become a living entity."
André Martínez Reed
What makes you stop unexpectedly before a face painted on canvas, reflected in a photograph? You've seen countless faces in every day life, countless, the images forwarded as art, news and history. Yet, there are times when an image seemingly similar to others, beckons one to stop and look again.
It's a magnetism drawing one into a scene. One transcends rational observation for more penetrating, revealing characteristics that trigger recognition of a profound state of being exuded from the depths of the third and forth dimensions. A face and its surroundings move, taking shapes, released from fixed patterns by no external manipulation. One comes face to face, in communion with mysterious forces inhabiting the subject. Forces we know to exist in ourselves in dream states, in wakened naked embrace of the spiritual, within the soul of our existence, named and no named. Language recedes giving way to feelings. A face emits an aura embracing our very own inner sanctums of self consciousness. Standing before the image one realizes sensations embedded in the psychic fabric of the mind; elements haunting and liberating, painful and ecstatic.
André Martínez Reed employs the mediums of paint and photography to journey the viewer into the realm of the para-normal. I prefer to call his work - transport to the spirit world.
A master jazz musician and gifted artisan, Martinez transposes his base mastery onto the visual plain via multiplicity of layered oils, inks, varnish, chalks, lead and Venetian plasters. Bold and free, after utilizing brushes he shapes his subjects, tableau, by hand, fusing the material to the visceral. In this fashion the painter surrenders to the hypnotic. The results are captivating, enabling the viewer a portal into the micro cosmos of life forms, entry into the known, inexplicable caverns of that which is so often over looked in ones self, in the surrounding universe.
Echoing the lines, ‘I speak with my ancestor spirits and flow
with their sacred spirit’, André Martínez's collection of photographs resonates with a translucency and other worldly-ness. They are almost like lucid dreams where the world seems to be manifestly there, but its meaning remains unattainably latent. Vision insists and we look to find and experience it. The silence of photography is rarely even noticed and yet silence is what allows these photographs to do what they do and to be what they are. And watching them the eye seems to be emboldened and illuminated as we go deeper into the meaning and depth of his inspiration. One looks at these photographs sensing that they are full of certainties and haunting reasons and there is a thirst for seeing more.
As we leave part two of Spirit Hunter, we feel a sense of accomplishment, a sense of completion, almost as though Martinez took us on a spirit quest where we were led into the sublime and then left to walk through the many layers of self and find within us what we truly are or have the capacity to be. And as each ones vision was revealed we returned slightly parched and thirsty from the long walk but elated and enhanced by the depth of what was revealed to each of us.
Manoshi Chitra Neog
“I photograph what I do not wish to paint
and I paint what I cannot photograph….”