"I always gravitate to [Martin and Muñoz's work]. It consistently combines reality and fantasy and puts an emphasis on storytelling as a universal form of human self-understanding." ---Jonathan Lethem, New York Times
Artists Walter Martin and Paloma Muñoz work collaboratively to create mesmerizing miniature snowbound environments, then record them in vivid color photographs. At first glance the work is playful; on closer observation, it often reveals darker narratives: lone wanderers survey the frigid landscape, and people and creatures exhibit unnatural tendencies. The photograph Wide Open Waiting is from their second series of work, Islands, included in a monograph titled Travelers (Aperture, October 2008).
Martin and Muñoz create the figures, either adapting ready-made figurines or shaping them out of clay. Martin works on the sets, painting and positioning the figures in constructed environments. The final compositions are captured in photographs by Muñoz, which are meticulously stitched and adjusted digitally for the final effect. On these Islands, odd mutations can happen. "The whole body of work was generated from a culture shock that we went through when we moved from New York to the countryside," says Martin in a recent interview. "Eventually the woods and the countryside weren't as inviting and pleasant as we'd imagined them. We discovered a lot of things we found disturbing...hearing gunshots in the forest, having seen bears, almost stepping on a snake in the forest."
In this special limited-edition print offering of Wide Open Waiting, these "travelers" are seen with suitcases, traipsing through a snowy winter wonderland with a twist. Lost in direction, looking up into the sky, and seemingly waiting. . . . What they wait for lies in the imagination of both the artists and their audience.
Walter Martin (born 1953 in Norfolk, VA) and Paloma Muñoz (born 1956 in Madrid) are represented by Aperture Foundation and P·P·O·W Gallery in New York, Galeria Isabel Hurley in Madrid, and MAM Mario Mauroner Contemporary Art, Vienna and Salzburg.