Gabriel Martínez: Un Viaje Entre

“Me Llegó al Cuerpo la Espuma (El Farito)” (detail), inkjet print on self-adhesive material

Opens, Monday, February 7th

Taller Puertorriqueño is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Gabriel Martínez, curated by Camilo Álvårez. 

In his first major show at Taller Puertorriqueño, Un Viaje Entre (A Trip Between), Gabriel Martínez returns to his Little Havana roots reflecting upon various topics related to his Cuban-American upbringing: culture, history, politics, and religion. 

Martínez is a multidisciplinary artist based in Philadelphia whose work investigates masculinity, personal history, and Queer identity. This new work explored the cost of migration, the formation of memory, and the ongoing conversations and missed connections between Miami and Havana.

Con su primer exhibición en Taller Puertorriqueño, Un Viaje Entre, Gabriel Martínez elige volver a sus raíces culturales para reflexionar sobre diversos temas relacionados con su formación cultural: cultura, historia, política y religión.

Martínez es un artista multidisciplinario con sede en Filadelfia cuyo trabajo investiga la identidad y la historia queer. En su exposición, mira hacia atrás para explorar el costo de la migración, la formación de la memoria y las conversaciones en curso y las conexiones erróneas entre Miami y La Habana.

On display in Taller’s Lorenzo Homar Gallery is a selection of the artist’s work from the past decade; six bodies of work, a photographic mural, and a hanging sculptural installation in Taller’s atrium. Martínez’s performative, collaborative, and conceptual process is at the center of this work, including the Between photo series made by traveling to Cuba to connect with his cultural heritage. Creating banners for his subjects to hold, he inverts and reverses images to examine the symbolic to the literal. The often-static roles and ideas of the viewer, subject, artist, visitor, migration, trans-migration, and home become interchangeable, questioning and examining our perspectives, even up and down. 

In the Atrium is a large-scale site-specific installation of 62 hanging sculptures, Paracaídas de Azabaches, consisting of the artist’s extensive and dynamic collection of quinceañera dresses. The artists’ process of collapsing binaries, sites, and spaces is observed in the collaborative aspect of this work and the employment of molds of life-sized hands. Produced by David Ross Harper, the molds were cast from the hands of Nasheli Juliana Ortiz-González, Taller’s Executive Director, Rafael Damast, Taller’s Exhibitions Manager, and Camilo Álvårez, this show’s curator.

About the artist

Gabriel Martínez (b.1967 Miami, FL) is a photo-based multidisciplinary Philadelphia -based artist and educator born and raised by Cuban exiles/expatriates/refugees. He has been teaching in the Photo Program for the Department of Fine Arts, PennDesign, for the last 20 years. Martínez serves on the Advisory Board for the Center for the Emerging Visual Artist, Philadelphia Photo Arts Center, and Galaei (a Queer Latinx social justice organization). He was a Pew Fellowship in the Arts recipient in 2001, received a Joan Mitchell Foundation Fellowship in 2003, and was awarded in 2019 both an Independent Creative Production Grant from the Sachs Program for Arts Innovation and an Independence Foundation Fellowship. He has participated in several artist residency programs, including the Rosenbach Museum (Philadelphia, PA), the Fountainhead Residency (Miami, FL), the Fabric Workshop (Philadelphia, PA), Arcadia Summer Arts Program, MacDowell Colony (Peterborough, NH), Yaddo (Saratoga Springs, NY), Banff Centre (Banff, CA), the Studios at MASS MoCA (North Adams, MA) and the Joan Mitchell Center (New Orleans, LA). Martínez attended the Skowhegan School of Sculpture and Painting in 2003. He has an MFA from Tyler School of Art and his BFA from the University of Florida. 

Martínez has created performances and installations for various venues, including: in Philadelphia at the Institute of Contemporary Art, The Fabric Workshop & Museum, The Print Center, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Art Alliance, the Bike Stop, Fjord, William Way LGBT Community Center, and Nexus Foundation for Today’s Art; in New York at White Columns, Leslie Lohman Gay Art Museum’s Prince Street Project Space, Franklin Furnace, Exit Art, and Thread Waxing Space; and in Miami at Miami Art Central and Bernice Steinbaum Gallery. His work appears in the Phaidon Press publication, Art & Queer Culture, featured in En Foco’s Nueva Luz issue, Vol 22.2: The Queer Issue. His work is in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Fabric Workshop & Museum, and the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay Art (N.Y., NY). 

Gabriel Martínez nació en Miami en una familia que emigró de Cuba en 1967. Visitó Cuba en 2016 por primera vez después de escuchar muchas historias de sus padres sobre el país que habían dejado atrás. A través de varios proyectos fotográficos realizados mientras estuvo en La Habana, creó obras que reflexionan sobre la memoria, el dolor y el renacimiento de LatinX. Las exploraciones de Martínez cambian e invierten las perspectivas y percepciones y, al hacerlo, llegan a algo más profundo.

About the curator

Camilo Álvårez was born in 1976 to Dominican parents in New York, NY, and resides between F.L. and M.A. In his youth, he lived in Santo Domingo for seven years. Alvarez received a B.A. in Art History (1998) from Skidmore College (Saratoga Springs, NY) and a Masters of Liberal Arts in Museum Studies (2016) from Harvard University (Cambridge, MA). He has worked at Exit Art (N.Y., NY), Socrates Sculpture Park (Queens, NY), MIT’s List Visual Art Center (Cambridge, MA), and the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture (N.Y., NY & Skowhegan, ME). Alvarez sits on the National Advisory Council for Skidmore College’s Tang Teaching Museum and the Advisory Board for Tufts University Art Galleries. He also serves as Co-Chair of the Advisory Board at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, and is a Commissioner on the Boston Art Commission. He has prepared over 100 art presentations for museums, galleries, art fairs, and other venues. He founded Samson (samsonprojects.com) in 2004

This exhibition and its program are made possible through generous funding from

The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Philadelphia Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, PNC Arts Alive, and The Joseph Robert Foundation