I’ve been pretty good this year about hitting most important museum exhibitions in Los Angeles this year. After a large brunch, walking around a museum on a sunny day just really hits the spot. Where I haven’t been so good is visiting small galleries. Galleries seem like a lot of hassle for maybe 20 minutes of hit-or-miss art. One show that I’m grateful I visited is Patrick Martinez’s “Lovely Day” solo show at Known Gallery at 441 N. Fairfax Ave.
What drew me to “Lovely Day” was Martinez’s focus on exploring masculinity and the male psyche in Los Angeles. I’ll forever be fascinated by what makes LA unique, the challenges and opportunities available to all communities. “Culture of Honor” (above) is a good example of how Martinez plays with “thuggish” archetypes but demasculinizes them with childish elements. “I wanted to use a Los Angeles male archetype to present this idea: It’s a beach setting. The proud male doesn’t know how to swim, but he’s sporting this ‘I don’t give a shit’ attitude – but he really cares. Moreover, he doesn’t want to drown,” Martinez explains.
Several of Martinez’s pieces feature neon lights – doesn’t get much more LA than that.
You only have a couple days to check out the gallery, but if you do, be sure to bring quarters! Just as you’d find in any LA car wash, Martinez brought in vending machines and filled them with custom toys as well as stickers of his neon pieces. If you can’t afford to buy one of his pieces, you can at least go home with a one-of-a-kind sticky hand or sticker.
Patrick Martinez’s “Lovely Day” runs through July 7, 2012 at Known Gallery, 441 North Fairfax Avenue.