Wk 9 – Artist Conversation – Juan Martin

Week 9’s artist conversation is with Juan Martin. Juan is a transfer student and is attending is his last year at California State University, Long Beach. He is majoring in sculpture in the BFA program. Juan’s show (no title of the show on the information sheet) is in the Max L. Gatov Gallery East and includes three pieces, a concrete mannequin, a life size anatomical deer sculpture, and a cube in the center of the gallery.

The mannequin sculpture is made of concrete and is in a sitting down orientation. What is interesting is that the concrete object is sitting on top of a glass mirror. In addition, the mannequin has two legs, two arms, the torso, neck, and no head. To the left of the mannequin is the anatomical deer. The deer is an onyx color, and looks to be a painted woodcarving. I did not know it was made of foam until I read the description of the show. One side of the sculpture is a normal deer, while the other side shows intricate carvings throughout the body. The carving is done by using 3D scanning and computer numerical controlled (CNC) milling. Juan digitally milled an abstract surface on one side of the deer. Lastly the center cube is completely covered in Shrink-Wrap.

In the mannequin piece, Juan wanted to transform an inanimate object in everyday life into a material and physicality reality. In essence, he wanted to transform the object into an entity that looks human in a glance. He achieves this by positioning the mannequin in a precariously balanced orientation on a mirror. The weight of the mannequin is more abstract because it is a heavy object sitting on a thin mirror. The anatomical deer shows the eroded object in conjunction with the digital and handmade in his work. It demonstrates how two odd combinations unify in this one piece. The minimalist cube “explores ideas of representation, artifice as well as consumerism and the body.” He wanted his audience to view their reflection in the cube and have their own interpretation of the work.

The cube is my favorite piece in the Juan’s show. Its simplicity, in a way gives off a mysterious feeling during the show. It made me question, why was this piece here and what is it supposed to representation. I instantly felt like I was in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, when the primates are intrigued with the obelisk that appeared overnight.

Juan's concrete mannequin.

Juan’s concrete mannequin.

Anatomical deer.
Anatomical deer.
Minimalist cube in Shrink-Wrap.
Minimalist cube in Shrink-Wrap.

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