Agua es Vida!

© 2014 Gustavo Martinez, Agua Para Ti. Photo courtesy of the artist.
© 2014 Gustavo Martinez, Agua Para Ti. Photo courtesy of the artist.
© 2014 Gustavo Martinez, Agua Para Ti. Photo courtesy of the artist.
© 2014 Gustavo Martinez, Agua Para Ti. Photo courtesy of the artist.

August at Gallery4Culture

Gustavo Martinez: Agua es Vida!
August 7 – 28, 2014
Opening: 1st Thursday, August 7, 6:00 – 8:00 pm

Gallery4Culture welcomes artist Gustavo Martinez in a solo exhibition of figurative works that centers on the elemental theme of water, a substance essential for survival. Agua es Vida is an installation of large-scale clay and mixed media sculptures that tells a very basic story about subsistence, conveying a variety of ways in which water has historically been transported and stored.

Despite progress in many arenas, the struggle among the world’s poorest countries to access to potable water is a present-day reality. After graduate school, Martinez elected to work in Guatemala as a ceramic water filter production consultant. He helped organize the first annual ceramic symposium and sculpture exhibition to raise funds for the donation of ceramic water filters to the rural Guatemalan communities in most need.

Agua es Vida carries on Martinez’s exploration of the theme. The sculpture Agua Para Ti pays tribute to the water carrier – the person who endures great hardship to have access to what is so easily accessible to most of us. Nature is its own force when it comes to moving and storing water; the sculpture Tlaloc pays homage to this. Martinez experienced powerful storms in Guatemala that flooded streets and carved waterways through the unpaved roads. In contrast to this force he also experienced gently flowing water and placid lakes storing water.

Born in Mexico but raised in the United States, Martinez’s relationship between Mexican history and American popular culture has profoundly shaped his experience. Exploring characteristics of the past and present of both cultures, Martinez’s art constantly examines their relationship as he searches for a balance.

About the Artist: Gustavo Martinez was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico and raised in California. He earned a BFA in Spatial Art with a minor in Mexican American studies from San Jose State University, San Jose, CA. He has been involved in the completion of public artworks for the city of San Jose. In 2007, Martinez spent six weeks exploring sacred archaeological sites in southern Mexico and Central America, where he also studied traditional indigenous pottery and pottery techniques at Escuela Valentine Lopez (San Juan de Oriente, Nicaragua). In 2011, Gustavo Martinez earned an MFA degree in the 3D4M program (ceramic / glass / sculpture) at the University of Washington, Seattle. He has worked as a studio assistant at Penland School of Craft and as audio visual coordinator at Pilchuck Glass School. Martinez was awarded the Pilchuck Glass School Minority Scholarship in 2014. He is adjunct art faculty at Green River Community College and a volunteer in the youth arts program at the Tacoma YMCA. Gustavo Martinez is teaching ceramics as a visiting artist at the University of Washington this summer session. Learn more about the artist and his work.