Óscar Martínez

Self-Portrait as Rodney King

In Self-Portrait as Rodney King I use the raw power of boldly applied paint to explore complex psychological and societal issues. While America was allegedly shocked by this organized beating, I understood Rodney to be the symbol for all of us who are viewed as the "other." The painting in turn becomes a representation of myself as a stand-in for Rodney's Everyman (of color). Thematically the work is inspired by the socio-politically charged illustrations often associated with Chicano art. Aesthetically, I am pushing contemporary Chicano painting beyond its' perceived stylistic limitations


New Freedoms

I find New Freedoms sublime in its combination of simplicity and depth of meaning. A prophetic work, it was created two years before American inner cities (and other parts of the Western world) exploded in class-based rioting. Its contemporary relevance was shown recently when President Clinton remarked, "America is more confident, hopeful, and just more secure and free.." on the same evening the LAPD was gassing and beating people in the streets outside the Democratic National Convention (August 14, 2000).