Mark Anthony Martinez is an Offwhite [tenuously latino, non-white, non-Black and non-affiliated indigenous], cisgender, hetero-performing, male. Martinez is a conceptual artist, independent curator and cultural worker.
“Through a conceptual interdisciplinary practice I make work that investigates how whiteness and light-skin are often removed from "polite" conversations of racial identity and racism. As a visibly brown (but “not dark”) person, I often contemplate the status or position of my own identity within society’s matrix of power and privilege. As such, many of my observations exist within an “offwhite” lens — a lens that exposes the color-based hierarchy manifested in North America.
The questions I explore revolve around my own relation to oppressive systems. I’m taking a hard look at my upbringing and the many ways I was taught to associate whiteness with goodness, heroism, innocence and purity. Associations that are fundamentally and ideologically white supremacist — yet, continue to inform everything from casual assumptions to the criminal justice system.
I believe contemporary art provides the ideal forum for an audience to engage with abstract and difficult concepts, not typically discussed at the dinner table or water cooler. As such, my work often omits ostensibly “white” bodies and instead lives as installation, text art and custom beige tinted interior paint — challenging the notion of white as neutral within the gallery. I believe that in order to illustrate an anti-racist aesthetic dedicated toward elucidating whiteness as a hegemonic power structure, within the confines of the whitewall gallery one must attempt to grapple with their own collusions to an inherited oppressive system.”
-Mark Anthony Martinez
Mark Anthony Martinez was born in San Antonio, Texas; Mark Anthony Martinez is a conceptual artist whose works investigate racialized identity via an “off-white” lens. His practice consists of installation, painting, text and video based works. He received his BFA in Intermedia at the Pacific Northwest College of Art (2011) and MFA in Contemporary Art Practice from Portland State University (2014). Most recently, Martinez served as Visual Arts Director to the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center (2015-2017), facilitating over 20 exhibitions. He currently resides in San Antonio, Texas where he maintains his artistic and curatorial pursuits.