HomeExhibitions2020 ExhibitionsFLOAT ON




The survival float is one of the most important skills for swimmers to learn, since it can help you survive in the water. Survival floating can help you if you’re stranded in open water, but it’s also a valuable technique taught to children who may find themselves in a deep pool and don’t have a lot of stamina or strong swimming skills.

– www.sportsrec.com



Floating, weightlessness, suspension in mid-air, have all been constant themes in the works of multi-awarded Edwin Martinez since 2017. Rendered with a pervasive blue palette, his works have been described as dreamlike and deeply psychological. 

Our universal experience of COVID-19 has left us disoriented. Much of what we have been accustomed to, is now outright dangerous.  Breathing, which is a basic for life, is now a perilous act. Being with other people is hazardous. For the past six months, normal life seems to have been suspended and put on hold. It is as if we have been on a time loop that we all want to escape from.  Which is why the works of Martinez, which focus on suspension and psychodrama, seem most appropriate.

Edwin Martinez himself was not spared from the powerlessness we have all felt. With all the bad things happening in quick succession from when the first enhanced community quarantine happened, he has instead disengaged from news, and focused on “Floating On”.

Unlike the aspects of suspension that Martinez has focused on in previous solo exhibitions; he focuses on floating as a vital survival skill for his seventh solo exhibition at Art Verité.

Floating, as an act, involves both a conscious effort to hold one’s breath and take it in as needed, but equally important, it is an act of letting go, and of surrender. Like a fetus in a womb, suspended in life sustaining embryonic fluids, the characters in Martinez’s works for this exhibition lie relaxed, seemingly in a dream state, in total surrender to sustaining grace. None of them struggle, despite the adversities that surround them. And all float on.

In the title piece Float On 1, a house is sinking in water. Above it is a man, in different positions of floating depicted in a circle, a cycle or an instructional view of keeping afloat. 

The idea of cycles is echoed in Float On 2 and 3, as well as in the piece Endurance, which depicts a man, in three poses composing a symmetrical triangle; a shape echoed in the last piece, Courage in Collapse.

Cycle and Symmetry, which are integral in all the works, relate to both the natural order and to Life.  All works seem to acknowledge the hidden order in the disorder that surrounds the subject of the works. It is as if the artist is sharing his own life learning for this time.

Float On speaks of wisdom in letting go. In a Chinese proverb, the bamboo that bends with the wind does not break. Perhaps, in the face of this overwhelming pandemic, such a lesson is also applicable.