Scission I, 2019

Acrylic on wood

Dimensions: 20" x 24" x 4"

Image courtesy of the artist

Mar Martinez

Orlando, Florida

My work explores structural power dynamics that breed dominance and aggression based on gender, ethnicity, and sexual identity within our society. The culturally enforced binary system of gender constrains self-expression and exacerbates violence. There is no peace or equality within the animal world; humans have societal rules that govern our interactions, but the constant grappling for power remains under the facade.

Scission implies a nonconsensual departure by being forcibly cut out. The hand-cutting of the pieces is a crucial part of my process. The violent act of stripping figures from their context mimics how power can be given and taken away. The figures become vulnerable, naked objects in the outside world.

The human figure can be exchanged with animal forms to remove societal formalities and reduce the power struggle to its animalistic source. I am currently interested in animals that are not immediately paired with aggression and discuss these dynamics. I use rabbits to open a discussion about the power dynamics behind the societal commodification of woman-as-object in the human realm. The prey animals stand in for bodies denied access to power. The patriarchal exertion of power manifests in domination, and enforces a system where there is always a winner (predator) and a loser (prey). These small bodies are restricted from actualizing their potential within this system.

Because the pieces are lifted off the walls by 3-5 inches, they can cast dramatic shadows depending on how the light source is positioned. Select pieces can cast massive shadows due to the corner lighting and can manipulate perceived ideas of dominance, authority and the ability to take up space.