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Lilian Martinez lives and works in Los Angeles, California
Martinez’ work embraces flatness and simplicity. Her painterly eye reduces a scene down to a critical selection of subjects, and then reduces those subjects down to their most basic forms, lines, and colors. Pulling imagery from pop-culture, art history, and nature, Martinez’ content is typically an amalgamation of easily recognizable symbols —Bart Simpson’s head floats alongside a figure that is reminiscent of a Matisse dancer, a Nike “swoosh” is situated alongside a series of decorative objects such as flowers, leaves or fruit. And when Martinez paints people they are almost always looking extremely relaxed, lounging comfortably, or engaged in a leisure activity. Usually the works have descriptive titles like, “When You Are Sad But You Still Want to Have Fun,” “Guardian Angel in Nikes,” or “Drake Eating Salad.” As the titles imply, the works are loosely narrative, but always feel a little chimerical, like something out of a dream. Bold and colorful, Martinez’ work is driven by intent, reconciling memory, reality and dreams into scenes that are a little bit surreal and a little bit funny. The work indulges color and mood, and is direct while maintaining a vibe that is charmingly nonchalant.
MARTYN THOMPSON is not one to be caught lounging around, Thompson’s photographic career was set in motion some 30 years ago when he began shooting the “Made in My Kitchen” fashion he was producing at the time. As it turned out, his images attracted more attention than the clothes themselves, launching a career that continues to make a profound visual impact today.
An expat of Sydney, Australia, Thompson was seduced at an early age first by glam rock and later the dynamic youth movements exploding in the early eighties. He was particularly captivated by the aesthetic of Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren’s subversive early collections and the music of artists such as Siouxsie and the Banshees.
Later in the decade, after several years in Paris, Thompson relocated to London where he began to move from fashion photography into the world of interiors. Perhaps due to his intellectual curiosity and a love of the lived environment, he began to develop a new, atypical approach to documenting interiors and architecture. In a Martyn Thompson image the human and the environment are always connected-the ordinary can become something enigmatic. His mastery of natural light is a skill that has made him highly sought after for still life and product photography.