Miguel Martin: All Good In The Manhood

The Abrons Arts Center is proud to present the exhibition All Good in the Manhood, the U.S. premiere of Irish/Spanish, Belfast-based artist Miguel Martin, in the Charles E. Culpeper Gallery. Martin addresses the chaotic overtones of violence in contemporary society inspired by surrealist worldviews, street culture, and Gothic imagery. He explores his distinctive, vivid imagination in regard to specific subject matter — ranging from politics to the collective unconscious — to playfully tell stories in black and white sketchbook or wall-sized drawings, as in the case of this commissioned piece. Resorting to a grotesque humor, his projects smartly fictionalize horror in a dramatic, symbolic yet delicate and even poetic style, making him an intelligent if also sarcastic commentator on everyday life.

All Good in the Manhood represents Martin’s personal attitude towards the nostalgia of a city in general and of Belfast in particular. In the tradition of modern dioramas, which consist of replicas of natural landscapes or urban settings typically showing historical events, this series evolves as a semi-autobiographical narrative. Each image evokes a specific childhood or teenage memory, thus alluding to situations involving both individuals and objects connected to Martin’s places of residence in Belfast — Poleglass, Legamaddy, Divis Drive, Queen Street, and Ormeau Road — including a graveyard, his grandmother’s country house, British soldiers, and police vans. Using free association techniques and panoramic, multi-perspective renderings of actions, he portrays media personas and domestic scenes such as iconic movie characters and cherished toys in an uncanny, dream-like combination of public and private spheres.

A conversation between Miguel Martin and curator Miguel Amado concerning the Belfast art scene and Martin’s practice will take place at the Abrons on Thursday, May 26, from 6-7 p.m.

Miguel Martin was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in 1985. He studied visual arts at the University of Ulster in Belfast, graduating in 2008, and since then he has been working in Belfast, notably as a member of Platform Arts, a studio complex in Queen Street. His recent solo shows include 20 Eyes (PS2 Project Space, Belfast, 2009) and The Weekly Woe(Space Delawab, Belfast, 2010). He has participated in several group shows, including I Spy(Golden Thread Gallery, Project Space, Belfast, 2009) and JEMA (Golden Thread Gallery, Project Space, Belfast, 2010). He also self publishes his own comic books, includingBoredom (2006) and The Weekly Woe (2010), and often sells his art at Belfast’s monthly Black Market at the Black Box.

All Good in the Manhood is supported by the British Council.

The exhibition is curated by Miguel Amado, the 2010-11 AIRspace curator-in-residence. Click here for more information on Miguel Amado and his residency.

Image: Miguel Martin, Boy Racer, 2011. Ink on paper, 21 x 14.8 cm.