Monica Mercedes Martinez – everyone is fallen except for us fallen…

School of Art Gallery
University of Manitoba, Winnipeg Canada
Reception and Artist Talk Friday June 22nd

Artist Statement

This work began after I started
researching the 1973 Chilean military coup. I learned that the military
would take the bodies of their victims up in helicopters and throw them on
the peaks of the Andes Mountains, into the Pacific Ocean or onto the vast
emptiness of the Atacama Desert in order to dispose of the evidence
of their crimes.
The description of the bodies thrown onto
the Andes, in particular, reminded me of the human sacrifices made by the
pre-Columbian Inca people who once inhabited the area. However, this
time the sacrifice was made to political dogma instead of for
religious reasons. But both sacrifices were made to maintain
the power of the ruling classes so the parallels, to my mind at
least, are poignant.  
The cross forms, which vary in size and
shape, are constructed from terracotta and porcelain.  These white
bone-like forms are wrapped in terracotta bindings impressed with the
texture of fabric, referencing the burial shrouds found in the few mass graves
to which the military eventually admitted and also to the Incan mummies
found in the Andes.  
The Inca carefully wrapped their sacrifices
before offering them to the sky, demonstrating their preciousness. My
meditative act of binding these cross forms in strips of material is essential
to their formation as it represents the care that should have been given to the
violated dead.
The cenotaph that emerged from my process
honours those that were silenced, those who were exiled – and the endurance of
those who remained behind.
Bio/press release
MONICA MERCEDES MARTINEZ is a mixed media object maker with ceramics playing an
intrinsic role in her artistic practice. As a South American who grew up on the
Canadian Prairies, she uses her practice to facilitate discussion about the
historical foundations that we exploit to define who we are and where we

For Monica Mercedes Martinez’s MFA show, “everyone is fallen except us
fallen…” she utilizes her innate sense of materials and experimental processes
to explore events that lead to the Chilean coup in 1973. Her exhibition
showcases a large sculpture which is the result of years of research and

The exciting announcement – Have I kept you in suspence for long enough?

Oh seriously who am I kidding, I think it’s only been my family that’s been wondering what’s up. And no, I would not announce on my blog the news of new additions to the family or similar such things…so rest assured it’s nothing that thrilling.

The news is sadly shameless self promotion, yup even I have to pay the bills sometimes folks. The glamorous life of a blog writer is just not all it’s cracked up to be : )

So here’s the deal: I’ve got a show coming up at the Sask Craft Council that I’m super excited about. Not only am I showing in my hometown, I’m also showing with two artists whose work I greatly admire – Jody Greenman-Barber and Robin Lambert – but on top of all that lately it’s also been a bit of a private anniversary for me. It’s silly really but in August of 2005 I graduated from Grad school, so this year is my 5 year anniversary of living in the ‘real’ world as an artist. Maybe it’s silly, but maybe it’s not. Sometimes we have to take note of our achievements, and not belittle the trials, risks and challenges that we’ve undertaken to get to where we are. Sure I would like my career to be further along at this point. But realistically i’d say it’s not so bad. I’m not working a crappy job instead, so I must be doing something right.

Oops I’m steering off course so before I go too over the top sentimental and lose you all, if I haven’t already (mom and dad I know you’re still here reading) my big announcement today is that in celebration of the last five years that I’ve been working on my Collection of Small Miseries series, I’m putting together a small self-produced publication highlighting pieces from the last few years. This publication will be launched at the upcoming exhibition.

Now I know some of you know about this already from the blog, facebook, etc., but what you don’t know is that for the rest of the month I’m going to be offering pre-orders of the publication at a discount of 20%.

As it sits right now (i’m in the final stages of editing) the publication will be a lovely 30 page full color, soft cover book. There will be over 70 color images of pieces from the collection from 2005 to 2010, plus a bit of text and quotes taken from my thesis/artist statement.

In fact here’s a sneak peek!

Of course two lucky people who contributed their opinion of their favorite will be randomly selected to win a free copy. You still have a chance to be one of these people – find out more here.

So if you’re interested in a copy you can purchase pre-orders here. The books will ship in early October.