While exploring his own ancestral background, Martinez discovered the magnificence of the First Nations of the United States. Solemn Grace is a testament to his deep fascination with delving into the lineages of the countless peoples who inhabit our nation.

Lino Martinez’s country is rich with diverse indigenous cultures. Contemporarily over fifteen percent of the entire Mexican population identifies as indigenous, with over sixty-seven known codified languages, most of which have been actively spoken since before colonization. In Oaxaca alone, fifty-six percent of the population claims indigenous roots as per the state census. Thus the unique beauty of native Mexican aesthetics begins to inform Martinez’ artwork.

Aside from surveying his own indigenous background, he became intrigued by the solemn demeanor of the peoples of Wichita, Apache, Nunivak, Hesquiaht, Sioux, and Ojibwe descent. Within each of the artworks that comprise Solemn Grace Martinez captures the dignified refinement and delicate grace of the various people he portraits, rendering his subjects magnificent in an effort to communicate the often-forgotten diversity of the First Nation. 

Martinez juxtaposes each and every portrait with the softness of often translucent geometric figures, a query he is currently exploring within his work. Geometry serves Martinez as a figurative tool to understand dimension and space. However, within this series of work exists a tension far beyond the surface of each piece. The geometric shapes overlap each portrait and flatten the area of the artwork, while three-dimensional objects carved in wood push the boundaries of the canvas into the realm of the viewer, thus distorting perspective, and blurring the boundaries between the subject, reality, and geometry.

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Tonalli Studio is an art space located in the heart of East Los Angeles, proudly featuring local artist from the East Side since 2012. Tonalli Studio is a place where the arts & wellness abide together to create & emanate an expression that fosters a healthy & creative community through art exhibitions, poetry, music, yoga, wellness workshops & community building.  

Tonalli Studio is a place of creative wellness.