Long Beach printmaker, LSU alumna to solo at Brandstater
February 4, 2009
By Darla Martin Tucker
RIVERSIDE, Calif. – ( www.lasierra.edu ) Gabriela Martinez loves to tell the stories of her family’s rich pasts living in and emigrating from different countries.
She tells such tales in visual ways, with linoleum and wood cut prints in earthy hues of red, green, blue and other colors. She conjures dream-like images, deriving imaginative illustrations from her own observations, from journal entries, short stories, notes and stories told by her mother.
Between Feb. 17 and March 9, Martinez will display 25 of her linoleum and woodcut prints in La Sierra University’s Brandstater Gallery. The pieces will vary in size from four-inch-by-three-inch prints to two-feet-by-four-feet. Martinez, a 2000 LSU graduate, will be the gallery’s solo exhibitor. Her show is titled “Historias/Histories” and depicts her family’s stories permeated with issues of immigration, gender, maturity and love
Brandstater Gallery hours are Mon. – Thurs. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Sun., 2 – 5 p.m. During LSU’s Alumni Weekend the gallery will be open Feb. 28, 2 – 5 p.m. and March 1, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. The gallery will hold a closing reception and artist’s talk March 9, 6 – 8 p.m. Gallery and reception admission is free.
“Historias/Histories” derives from Martinez’s thesis for a Master’s in Fine Arts in printmaking, which she received from California State University, Long Beach last year.
The artist makes a linoleum or woodcut print by gouging a reverse image onto a block, leaving a raised surface that functions as a stamp. Using a roller, she applies ink to the surface of the plate, places a sheet of paper over the plate and runs it under a metal roller to make an impression of the image onto the paper.
Martinez likes working with linoleum because it “is quick and easy to cut,” she said. She purchases the material at flooring stores. “…I like printmaking because I can make countless copies and distribute them to as many people as I want. It makes the art form less precious and more egalitarian in my opinion,” the artist said.
“Art in general suits my personality. It doesn’t work for everyone,” said Martinez. “You have to be willing to make some big sacrifices, listen to negative opinions about your work, which actually becomes a non-issue at some point, and have the nerve to say that what you create is worth an audience taking the time to look at it.”
“I’ve always made art and I don’t know how to stop, basically. And, as people continue paying me to do it, stopping doesn’t really have a point, does it?” she commented.
Martinez is currently working as an educator at the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach and the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts. She exhibited her work in five solo shows since 1999 and in 28 group shows since 1995. In addition to her work for the Museum of Latin American Art, Martinez served as an instructor at Cal State Long Beach, La Mano Press in Los Angeles, Korean Immigrants Workers Association, Good Samaritan Presbyterian Church in Glendale, La Sierra Academy, La Sierra University and Brandstater Gallery.
Martinez began working in La Sierra’s art studios as a high school senior. The university ultimately provided an “art home” for the artist, she said. Martinez deems LSU’s professors “the most influential instructors I’ve ever had. …I appreciate the fact that I was never pushed to make art or told how my art should be or look, but was instead provided a very open environment for experimentation. The department gave me confidence to continue my studies and eventually my career.”
“ Academically I received an education that won me a lot of compliments as I continued on into graduate school,” she said.
PR Contact: Larry Becker
Executive Director of University Relations
La Sierra University