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BORDERLESS - Solo Exhibition - Andrea M Martinez

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In my paintings I render a place called Borderlandia, a reimagined landscape full of life and movement, not divided by borders. Through painting, photography, drawing, video, and performance I invite people to contemplate the beauty that exists in a land where people negotiate their place, where people thrive and struggle, and where people resist the idea of unjust borders.

My paintings are inspired by the vast landscape of Uvalde, Texas and Piedras Negras, Mexico.  To render these borderlands I begin with a memory of this land. In this process I describe my memory of the borderland I grew up in. Uvalde County is a brush country blanketed with green and yellow prickly pear cactus and green and grey mesquite trees. I paint this thorny landscape with repetitive, rectangular marks of bright color in a grid pattern. My painting during this process is slow, mindful and healing.  

Painting landscapes is a way for me to understand the place where I am from. I grew up fishing and hunting with my father who taught me how to look at the land. My mother filled our home with textiles that created a soothing environment which helped me thrive in a sometimes hostile town. 

Today, the U.S.-Mexico border is constantly being presented as a place of danger and violence. But to me the borderlands are home. It’s a place of humanity, solidarity, and compassion. Paintings of Borderlandia are my valentine to the borderlands. They are my own addition, threads of color, to the fabrics woven by my mother, father, and those that came before them. Weaving history, emotion, and lived experiences; it is a way of preserving the chispas of joys birthed from these lands.

Borderlandia is an imagined and fascinating world.  Here, animals are special because they traverse the landscape in fronteras.  Animals including dogs, monarch butterflies, and hummingbirds are companions to border-crossers in Borderlandia and they remind us that migration is beautiful.  Portraits of animals insert humor, comfort, and joy into difficult but urgent realities about the borderlands.

 

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