From the outside, the building looked simple. Mostly nondescript, it blended into other buildings on Washington Boulevard, but when you got closer you could spot a neon sign that spelled out “BAIL BONDS” next to a similar sign that read “OXYGEN.” The man near the door held it open and you entered a space that held equally surprising, even more thought-provoking artworks. “I Am a Verb,” Daniel Joseph Martinez‘s show at Roberts & Tilton piqued the curiosity of many gallery-goers on Saturday night. From young to old, the viewers cocked their heads to one side and avidly discussed the pieces with those nearby. A truly intriguing and mentally complex show, “I Am a Verb” has the potential to make a viewer uncomfortable at times. Martinez presents large pigment prints of photographs of his warped-looking his body in simple wooden frames that catch the light and sometimes make the viewer see themselves.
In fact, whether or not the gallery visitors understand the many themes Martinez tackles–language, modern culture, industrialization–the artist makes sure to choose recognizable images. Who Killed Liberty, Can You Hear That, It’s the Sound of Inevitability, The Sound of Your Death shows a replica of the Statue of Liberty turned sideways across from neon signs with the words ‘We Buy Gold’ and ‘Facial Waxing.’
“I Am a Verb” alludes to images we might not want to face and images we always face but perhaps don’t look at closely enough. If anything, the show will get visitors looking twice at familiar signs. “I Am a Verb” runs until October 20.“I Am a Verb” Daniel Joseph Martinez
September 8 – October 20, 2012 Roberts & Tilton 5801 Washington Boulevard Culver City, CA 90232 (323) 549 – 0223 Tuesday – Saturday 11 am – 6 pm