- Gabriel Martinez
- Weitzman School of Design (PennDesign)
Independent Creative Production Grant
Gabriel Martinez worked diligently on his project entitled “Queer Eclipse.” Which explores the cultural, political and sexual climate of a particular moment in queer history- the summer of 1981. Martinez isolates the summer of 1981 as the cultural, political, and sexual turning point for queer people because this was generally when HIV/AIDS first entered public knowledge. His research has been focused upon a critical juncture in Queer history, when the first mentions of a “mysterious gay cancer” began to appear in publications. It is evident within his powerful works that Martinez is interested in queer time travel – past/future, future/past – potential, transcendence and possibility.
The Independent Creative Production Grant allowed Gabriel time to experiment in the darkroom: play, invent, fail, learn and to react instinctively. In search for what has not yet been revealed. Through experimental processes within an analogue darkroom, he was able to create visual representations of that summer of 1981. Most of the photographs within his “Queer Eclipse” series were manipulated with solarization, a technique that overexposes and distorts the original image. The end result is a collage of abstract forms and textures from half-tone archival materials, that were blown up in scale, printed in fragments, and joined together, Some of his photographs became silver gelatin prints and on others he layered red mylar on top of the photographs. His powerful photographs represent his investigations into various aspects of queer dualities: trauma/futurity, sorrow/ecstasy, positive/negative, macro/micro, human cells/galaxies, analogue/digital, fragmentation/regeneration, eternal/temporal, corporeal/ celestial. Martinez presented his works from the “Queer Eclipse” series in a solo exhibition “Bound to the Past” at Marginal Utility Gallery in September and October of 2019.