Culture Vulture / I Heart John Martini


By C.S Gillbert


I don’t think I’ve ever said this out loud to a living soul in 15 years, but I love John Martini. When Lucky Street was at the corner of Catherine and Duval, and I lived for a year on the 400 block of Catherine, I sometimes took a break and a very short walk and just stood and gazed (up, usually) at the iconic metal constructions that could be whimsical, threatening, powerful, beautiful, friendly.



When I received an e-note from John this week, I was a bit surprised; if we’ve met it was only briefly, during a studio tour. We wouldn’t know each other on the street (or at a cocktail party), I suspect. He asked me to check out his current Lucky Street show, which is in partnership – and what a partnership, it turns out – with Michel Delgado. I couldn’t attend the opening but seeing the show was already at the absolute top of my To Do list, and I did.




The show is/was (the problem with Lucky Street in season is that shows come and go so quickly one gets whiplash just looking; the same is true of Gingerbread Square; but I digress)  amazing. I was a bit surprised to see Martini continuing to show monoprints as well as his metal pieces and I was totally amazed to see the chaotic abstraction of Delgado coalescing into works that called to me rather than – and this is a very personal reaction; I was never asked to be a critic of his work – screaming violence. Abstraction is the genre I don’t feel really solid about. Sainted Joel Blair, where are you now that we really need you?



The most amazing thing about this show, though, is the synergy among the artists; there is kinship between Delgado’s Senegalese goats (So Many Homes to Go To), dog (Way of the Warrior) and rabbit on wheels (Stay Competitive) and Martini’s soaring, ceiling scraping trio of deer (Oh, Dear), rabbit (Hugh’s Rabbit) and bird (Well, Everybody Knows the Bird Is the Word) — a wonderful oneness about the show. This appears in other works as well; one example: Martini’s Monoprint #1 could, with pointy teeth, be pure Delgado.



The show ends tomorrow, Feb. 28. Both Martini and Delgado are represented by Lucky Street, so some of their work is always available. But this show is really special. Catch it if you can.



Intrepid writing instructor and PR person Susie Waddia-Ells tells us that Stephen LaPierre is offering free plein air painting sessions Wednesday evenings, beginning Feb. 26, for those wanting to paint a nightscape of The Tropic Cinema at 416 Eaton St. The free sessions, an opportunity for beginning and practicing artists alike to “paint the night,” and for interested observers, will meet from 7:30 to 9 p.m. across the street from The Tropic for the next four Wednesdays. Individuals can attend one or more sessions and should bring an easel or a chair and their own art supplies. LaPierre will also offer a free artist’s talk from 9 to 9:30 p.m. following each painting session. As we told you last time, LaPierre’s Tale of Two Cities — Key West and Havana — is on exhibit in the Tropic’s gallery space through March 20.



On the still scary subject of abstraction: After participation in the city-wide “Una Raza * One Race” (see my story of the same name) the Gato is hosting an abstract show curated by my make-believe cousin, Jane Gilbert. Suffice to say, for now, that the exhibition will open late this month.




Gotta fly! Catch you next time!

[livemarket market_name="KONK Life LiveMarket" limit=3 category=“” show_signup=0 show_more=0]