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Enrique Martínez Celaya | Air Mail

El principio y el final (The Beginning and The End), 2018-2022, Oil, wax, tar and silk flowers on canvas, 82 x 75 inches

Enrique Martínez Celaya: The Foreigner’s Song


“I think that’s the temperature I feel inside,” the Cuban artist Enrique Martínez Celaya has said. “Isolation, solitude and loneliness, I’m always feeling the condition of things—or what you could call the illusion of things—being separate.” Perhaps this isolation stems from a life spent constantly on the move. When he was a child, Martínez Celaya’s parents immigrated to Spain; when he was a teenager, they moved to Puerto Rico. In 1982, Martínez Celaya headed to Ithaca, New York, to study physics at Cornell University. Relocating to California, he remained in physics for a decade, patenting a number of laser devices, then left the field for a career in art. His paintings are large and folklorish, touched with mystery and myth. This exhibition presents a series of recent works that use maps as symbols of displacement. —E.C.

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