Patrick Martinez artwork at Dallas Contemporary

Dallas Contemporary presents Patrick Martinez: Histories, opening April 3, 2024. The expansive solo exhibition will present a collection of brand new works alongside a survey of pieces representative of the artist’s distinctive multidisciplinary practiceHistories draws attention to often overlooked and ephemeral city scenes embedded with elements reflective of intergenerational cultural exchange. The exhibition runs through September 1, 2024.

Featuring sculpture, dynamic installations, large-scale multi-media paintings, and the artist’s iconic neon works, the exhibition transports the collective artifacts, sentiments, memories, and energies of Los Angeles and comparable Latinx, Filipinx, and BIPOC communities into the Dallas Contemporary space.

“With California and Texas both having the largest Latinx populations in the United States, DC is an ideal platform for showcasing Martinez’s powerful works, which unify immigrant and BIPOC communities throughout the United States through a strong, shared visual language,” Dallas Contemporary Executive Director Carolina Alvarez-Mathies said.

A Los Angeles native, Martinez creates works that reflect on the ever-evolving landscape of the city he calls home, considering the passage of time and its impact on the lived environment and, by consequence, on the multicultural communities that inhabit it. Influenced by the rich visual traditions of the city, his paintings draw from an ephemeral mural tradition with deep roots in local Mexican American histories, placing it in dialogue with the visual histories of other communities such as those of the Filipinx and Native American communities, among others.

From Mayan warriors to flowering Bougainvillea, from Emiliano Zapata to feathered serpents, from Sitting Bull to the labor organizer and activist Larry Itliong, Martinez’s imagery is culled from a variety of Mesoamerican, Latin American, Latinx, Filipinx, and indigenous sources, yet stand together as part of a larger communal cultural legacy that spans across cultural communities in the region as well as in many parts of the United States, including Texas. 

Martinez’s approach incorporates vernacular everyday images and architectural forms, offering a contemplation on the ephemeral nature of American urban visual histories. These narratives are frequently depicted on the walls of community centers, primary schools, and corner markets in neighborhoods across the US. Due to the turnover of these spaces, the historical narratives become increasingly intricate over time with their complexities mirroring the rich cultural exchange sparked by migration. 

Drawing our focus to the progression of these histories, Martinez prompts viewers to reflect on the histories being made in real time. His work recognizes inequities within the criminal justice and education systems, as well as within the immigration enforcement system replete with ethnic and socio-economic disparities. With the use of familiar visual languages like vinyl banners, window bars, neon, and tile, Patrick Martinez: Histories places American histories in dialogue with the larger ever-evolving urban landscape, and lends hope by combating darkness with light.

Patrick Martinez: Histories is curated by Rafael Barrientos Martínez.

About Patrick Martinez


Left: Patrick Martinez in his Los Angeles studio. Right: Patrick Martinez, Fleeting Bougainvillea Landscape 1. Stucco, Neon, Acrylic Paint, Spray Paint, Tarp Latex House Paint on Panel.
Left: Patrick Martinez in his Los Angeles studio. Right: Patrick Martinez, Fleeting Bougainvillea Landscape 1. Stucco, Neon, Acrylic Paint, Spray Paint, Tarp Latex House Paint on Panel. Courtesy of the artist.

Patrick Martinez (b. 1980, Pasadena, CA) earned his BFA with honors from Art Center College of Design in 2005. His work has been exhibited domestically and internationally in Los Angeles, Mexico City, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Miami, New York, Seoul, and the Netherlands, and at venues including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, the Brooklyn Museum, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, the Smithsonian NMAAHC, the Tucson Museum of Art and the Buffalo AKG Museum.

Patrick’s work resides in the permanent collections the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Broad Museum, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles (MOCA), the Rubell Museum, the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, the California African American Museum and the Autry Museum of the American West in Los Angeles among many other prominent institutions.

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