Some of his prints of Enrique Martinez Celaya at Paulson Press
His own wedsite : Enrique Martinez Celaya
Enrique Martinez Celaya
Enrique Martinez Celaya is not afraid of the dark. An artist who saturates his canvases in tar or washes of blood, the Cuban-born painter, 41, is engaged in a deeply visceral approach to art. The source of the blood he uses, human or otherwise, he won't disclose. Children, primarily boys, are the subject of most of his current work. But these are not studies in innocence. He gives young children credit for being complex, pensive beings. What could be more mysterious than the troubled brow of a silent 7-year-old? They are neither vulnerable nor frivolous nor mere sexual objects, really—though there is a sensuality to the diaphanous pajamas worn by Celaya's nephew in the sole photo in the show. And one might wonder why the boy paired with the girl (Boy and Girl) is missing a hand. What did he steal? What did he touch? Particularly striking is Boy in Icy Landscape, a Scream-like figure hunched in front of an iceberg, rendered on paper in blood, watercolor, and charcoal. The boy is curiously self-possessed despite his chilly solitude. Blood Landscape is not as dramatic as it sounds: A shirtless, androgynous child bows before a blossoming bough, a gesture of sad introversion, perhaps shame, beside a symbol of spring, life, and hope. The work is quiet and delicately painted in what could pass for a diluted burnt sienna with the absorptive quality of sumi ink. Tu Sonrisa, Miguel is half mirror; as positioned here in the gallery, it turns a neat trick of reflecting another painting from across the room. While Celaya's likely intention was simply to include the viewer's visage in the tableau, this effect is more interesting. This work is inspired by a famous poem by Spanish Civil War hero Miguel Hernandez, who while imprisoned lost his son to malnutrition. The son never lived to the age depicted in the painting, making the image a sad chimera. Poet and physicist Celaya is clearly a thinker, and his ruminations are deeply and physically imagined. "Splinter. Return." at Greg Kucera Gallery, 212 Third Ave. S., 206-624-0770, www.gregkucera.com. 10:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Tues.-Sat. Ends May 13.