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  • UPDATED: ARTIST STATEMENT

    Finally feeling like I'm organizing my thoughts more clearly. Been hitting the books again and am trying to regain my language. I've been attempting an identity based core art practice for at least 6 years at this point. I'm constantly undergoing a state of re-learning, unlearning and re-affirming my voice and casting off doubt.
    VER. 4.23.18
    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 the privileges tied to light-skin are often removed from "polite" conversations of racial identity and racism. So often, race is often cast as something that "non-whites" have. This tactic, regardless of intent, is deployed specifically to render whiteness as the "norm," neutral or altogether invisible in its relation to others.
    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 which is informed by the history of uneven assimiliation and complicity amongst US Latinos (more specifically Mexican-Americans) since the signing of the Treaty Guadalupe Hidalgo.

    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 whiteness and its political ramifications as neutral.
    I believe that in order to illustrate an anti-racist aesthetic, one must orient one's disposition toward elucidating whiteness as the power structure that it is and grapple with one's own collusions to an inherited oppressive system.”
    -Mark Anthony Martinez