Iwasaki Library exhibit features work by Martha Jimenez

Heather West, MFA '13
November 08, 2010

Martha Jimenez says she hopes to communicate contradiction in her art. “In the process of creating, there is inherent contradiction; I want to challenge the viewer.” Emerson’s Iwasaki Library welcomed the Cuban painter and sculptor at an opening reception November 3. Her work will be displayed in the library through December 15. 

The show at the Iwasaki Library is the first exhibition of Jimenez’s work in the United States. Emerson Writing, Literature and Publishing Professor Flora Gonzalez invited Jimenez to the College. Gonzalez has been writing about Jimenez’s work as part of her interest in Cuban culture.

“Martha Jimenez works on canvases and in sculpture convey the resiliency of the human condition under duress, with humor and pathos.”

“Martha Jimenez works on canvases and in sculpture convey the resiliency of the human condition under duress, with humor and pathos,” said Gonzalez.

Jimenez described one of the most challenging pieces of her new collection. “There is one called Balance of the Right Time that is very important to me. To find balance in life is very difficult. If you think about your family, your relationships with your colleagues, etc., you have to work hard to understand people. The idea is to paint the experience of trying to find a middle ground.”

She has won numerous awards for her work in clay, ceramic, and other media, including a UNESCO International prize in 1998. Her latest series, Longing, aims to capture the essence of the female experience in Cuba. Jimenez is known for her sensual and vibrant portrayals of women.

Painting throughout her early childhood and now teaching professionally, Jimenez has a lot of experience with finding that balance. At the opening of the reception she offered a few words of advice for aspiring artists. “An artist has a very strong work ethic. You have to demand a great deal of yourself and be willing to concentrate.”

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