Oil and spray on canvas
Though uncomplicated iconographically, this virtuosic work links up to Martinez’s recent preoccupation with mundane spaces (airports, stores, terminals) in which the overwhelmingly mundane keeps occurring. The Walmart inflatable swans, with their almost tragic reference to Leda, who was inseminated by Zeus himself, hardly seem to invite a union that profound. Martinez seems to long for a world in which we can even be overwhelmed.
What he finds instead is a Church’s Chicken multi-verse in which corporations have long ago anticipated our every wish and every desire and filtered it through every imaginable demographic. Leviathan is among the artist’s most significant paintings to date precisely because it leaves an indelible sense of recognition and understanding without the viewer being aware of just why that is. It is an outrageous painting, deeply comic, and quite possibly seminal.