I am a process based object maker whose works are primarily experimental handbuilt clay sculpture, photography and ceramic based performances. As my art practice evolves it has become more process based the act of making itself has become more interesting to me than the final piece. As a result, once created and shown, my sculptures are often then broken apart and reassembled or destroyed completely to fuel new art work. My work is influenced by my avid interest in history and my research into different elements of the world’s historical, social, political or biological events. I am fascinated by how long ago occurrences have created and continue to manipulate the power structures that rule our world today. Through my practice I try to connect myself to history; both my own and that of the world we inhabit.
Monica Mercedes Martinez was born in Quillotta, Chile and due to political unrest her family immigrated to Canada moving extensively before settling down in Edmonton, Alberta. This has instilled a love of travelling and an interest in politics in the artist that is reflected in her art practice. She has given numerous lectures about her practice and has exhibited nationally and internationally. Martinez recently participated in two international residencies, one at ICS in Kecskemet, Hungary and the other at the PWS in Jingdezhen, China. She is currently the artist in residence at the Edge Artist Village and Gallery in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Martinez received her BFA from the Alberta College of Art + Design in 2010, and her MFA at the University of Manitoba in 2012. She has taught as a Sessional Instructor in the School of Art at the University of Manitoba.
Monica Mercedes Martinez is bringing something new to contemporary ceramics. Using heat as both medium and metaphor, she allows the kiln to transform, deform, and freeze her figurative sculptures in time, pushing clay to its limits and beyond.
Grace Nickel, nominator
Professor of Ceramics, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba
PHOTOS: Frances Juriansz