Melvin Martinez Puerto Rican, b. 1976


Deeply invested in the history and materiality of his medium, Melvin Martinez produces mixed media paintings, as well as sculptures and installations about painting. Through his work, he negotiates his place in the continuum of painters, while inviting us to reconsider how we view this ever-evolving art. Artists like Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko, and such game-changing movements as Pointillism, fuel his work. “[My] paintings renegotiate [my] debt to the optics of Pointillism, anarchy of Abstract Expressionism, resplendence of Color Field painting or embodied summons of gestural abstraction,” he has said. Martinez slathers so much paint—in a riot of colors, and mixed with materials like glitter, crumpled newspaper, and costume jewelry—onto his large-scale canvases that their surfaces appear frosted, at once irresistible and grotesque. The abstract compositions reflect an artist who honors his forebears, while also breaking new ground.


Melvin Martinez was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 1976; and studied art at San Juan Arts School (Puerto Rico), where he received a BFA in 2005. This young and prolific artist, the winner of 2005 Castellon Paint Prize (Spain) in his work (Wonderland/ El Pais de las Maravillas), has shown his works in many of the most prestigious museums of Spain and is part of many important collections of The United States, Europe and Latin America. Espai D’Art Contemporani, Duesseldorf Quadrinale, Yvon Lambert “Tribute at Cezanne” and Alconrn’s Art Center are some of the places where the work of Melvin, who lives and works in San Juan has been shown.