Amanda Martínez: querencia

September 1 - October 1, 2022

HESSE FLATOW is pleased to announce the opening of querencia, an exhibition of sculptural works by the Brooklyn-based artist Amanda Martínez, marking her first solo presentation with the gallery.

querencia, derived from the Spanish verb querer meaning “to want or desire,” roughly translates to “a homing place where one draws comfort, strength, and inspiration.” For Martínez, her querencia is rooted within her ancestral ties to New Mexico, its vernacular adobe and stucco architecture, its traditions in embroidery and basketry; all of which converge and coalesce within her abstract and minimalistic works. This connection to a place, negotiated between fixed elements of one’s heritage and its mutable experience in the immediate present, grounds Martínez’s practice as it fluctuates over time while demanding nurture and respect.

Repetition plays significantly within Martínez’s works, whose tessellated patterns embrace a slowness both in process and reception. Though an attention to detail and uniformity across her surfaces may signal a mechanical means of production, Martínez in fact constructs her works entirely by hand. Inventing her own language of geometric abstraction, fashioning stencils or “profiles” of undulating shapes as distinct units of measurement, she maps out and carves her sculptures into discrete building blocks with infinite possible configurations. By transforming found materials such as foam, wood, and plaster using natural pigments, she reimagines elements commonly associated with the built environment into earthy, topographical terrains, equipped with a tectonic sense of movement.

Martínez’s subtractive modeling in her carved pieces is counterbalanced by the additive assemblage of her woven works. Straddling between ornament and implement, these straw- and wool-laced structures not only assert their object-like status, but also analogize for Martínez, her efforts to build a state or network of interconnectivity. As she attunes to her forms and materials with a steady, meditative intensity, her ritualized process becomes one of healing and self-care. Throughout her multi-faceted works, Martínez demonstrates the complexities of cultivating one’s querencia, threaded across a distant homeland, the roll of one’s mother tongue, the safeguards of a familial home, or a feeling of contentedness within the body.

Amanda Martínez (born 1988, Greenville, SC) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She received her BFA from Kansas City Art Institute in 2010 where she studied sculpture. Martínez has recently exhibited her work at The Baltimore Fine Art Print Fair with Harlan & Weaver Press, New York; CADAN Yurakucho with Koki Arts in Tokyo, Japan; HESSE FLATOW, New York; and ArtsLibris fair in Barcelona, Spain. In 2020, she completed a public art commission at 125 Maiden Lane, New York, an edition of cast sculptures for Maison Trouvee, Paris, as well as significant residential projects. In 2019, Martínez had a solo exhibition at Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art in Nagoya, Japan as part of Aichi Triennale 2019, selected by Pedro Reyes and with a published catalogue edited by journalist Tsuda Daisuke. Her work has also been shown with David Shelton Gallery, Houston; Egg Collective, New York; Underdonk, Brooklyn; Vacation, New York; Spring/Break, New York; Garis & Hahn, Los Angeles; NADA, New York; Redline Contemporary Art Center, Denver; among others.