Miles McEnery Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of recent paintings by Enrique Martínez Celaya, “The Foreigner’s Song.” The artist’s inaugural solo exhibition at the gallery will open on 8 September at 515 West 22nd Street and remain on view through 15 October 2022. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue featuring an essay by Leah Ollman.
Martínez Celaya is a widely celebrated artist, author, and former physicist, who has been actively working for three decades. His multifaceted body of work connects art to literature and poetry, philosophy, and science, all of which are incorporated into his paintings, sculptures, and installations. Raised in Cuba, Spain, and Puerto Rico, the artist is currently based in Los Angeles. The exhibition is a combination of paintings and works on paper exploring, as he says, “the foreigner’s dual longing for a future that can redeem the dislocation of the past and a present that can provide a sense of belonging.”
The artist’s body of work is characterized by an allusive complexity, emotional presence, and intellectual vigor. Philosophically minded, the work is concerned with themes of identity, memory, exile, nature, mythology and folklore, and self. Deeply invested in the human condition, his imagery evokes a poetic world that connects his own personal history to the universal experiences of being alive.
Ollman writes, “The maps appearing in these paintings by Enrique Martínez Celaya conjure the exoskeleton that a geographical site provides, the shell or shelter supporting life’s vulnerable flesh. These maps, however, also read as the opposite: as internal structures, networks of arteries channeling vital fluids — blood, sap, water. Friction between conditions that seem mutually exclusive — exteriority/interiority, vastness/intimacy, selfhood/otherness — thrums constantly in Martínez Celaya’s work.” Central to his practice is the idea that art should not purely be a cultural pursuit, but also an ethical effort that turns thinking into action in order to better understand and engage with the world and our roles in it.
Enrique Martínez Celaya (b. 1964) received his Bachelor of Science from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, his Master of Science from University of California, Berkeley in Berkeley, CA, and his Master of Fine Arts from the University of California, Santa Barbara in Santa Barbara, CA.
Recent solo exhibitions include the “The Foreigner’s Song,” Miles McEnery Gallery, New York, NY; “The Rose Garden,” UTA Artist Space, Los Angeles, CA; “Sea Sky and Land (towards a map of everything),” Fisher Museum of Art, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, “The Fire of Heaven: Enrique Martínez Celaya and Robinson Jeffers,” Edward L. Doheny Jr. Memorial Library, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA; traveled to the Monterey Museum of Art, Monterey, CA; “There-bound,” The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, CA; “Enrique Martínez Celaya and Käthe Kollwitz: Von den ersten und den letzten Dingen (Of First and Last Things),” Galerie Judin, Berlin, Germany; “A Third of the Night,” Baldwin Gallery, Aspen, CO; “Un poema a Madrid,” Galería Casado Santapau, Madrid, Spain; “The Mariner’s Meadow,” Blain | Southern, London, United Kingdom; “13th Havana Biennial,” Detrás del Muro, Havana, Cuba; “The Tears of Things,” Kohn Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; “The Other Life,” Galleri Andersson/Sandström, Stockholm, Sweden; “The Gypsy Camp,” Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, NY; “The Mirroring Land,” Galerie Judin, Berlin, Germany; “Nothing That Is Ours,” Fredric Snitzer Gallery, Miami, FL; and “One-on-One: Enrique Martínez Celaya/ Albert Pinkham Ryder,” The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.
His work may be found in the collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.; Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, CA; Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT; Pérez Art Museum, Miami, FL; Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OH; Tucson Museum of Art, Tucson, AZ; Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH; Fisher Museum of Art, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA; Museum der bildenden Künste Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany; Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO; Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR; Strandverket Konsthallen, Marstrand, Sweden; Oakland Museum of California, Oakland, CA; Palm Springs Art Museum, Palm Springs, CA; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, CA; and The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum, Miami, FL.
He is the recipient of numerous awards, honors, and fellowships including Board of Governors, Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, CA; Fellow of the Robinson Jeffers Tor House Foundation, Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA; Doctor Honoris Causa, Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, CA; Visual Arts Fellow, The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, CA; Phi Kappa Phi Faculty Recognition Award, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA; Fellow, Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA; Provost Professor of Humanities and Arts at the University of Southern California; Roth Distinguished Visiting Scholar, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH; Montgomery Fellow, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH; Knight Foundation Grant; Visiting Presidential Professor, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE; National Artist Award, Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Snowmass, CO; California Community Foundation Fellowship, J. Paul Getty Trust Fund for the Visual Arts; and the Young Talent Award, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA.
Martínez Celaya lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.