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"Stress Fractures" - The Political Work of Artist John Martinek

  • Overview

    The anxiety, frustration, and chaos of the current political climate do not immediately call to mind the word creative.  Nevertheless, these ingredients serve to inspire and feed the editorial cartoons, drawings, and paintings in an upcoming exhibition titled Stress Fractures by Iowa artist John Martinek at Artisan Gallery 218. 

    Opening Reception is Saturday, Nov 10th from 1:00 - 3:00pm.  John's work will be on display for the month of November.

    Driven by absurdity, dark humor, and a degree of seriousness, the show will feature work that responds to current events, both national and local.   A main component of the show will be Martinek’s pen and ink editorial cartoons which are published bi-monthly in the Iowa City based Little Village Magazine.  Also on display are drawings and paintings that look further back into American history for inspiration or look more deeply into contemporary society. The symbolism of Mount Rushmore is a component in many of the works that explore the relationship between ecological and ideological devastation.  Other works feature topics like President Trump, gun control, Iowa politics, and the precarious state of democracy.  According to Martinek, “With all that’s happening in our political climate, it’s not really possible to sit on the sidelines anymore.  I feel we have a duty to participate, step up, and help make things better. As a visual person, creating art is the best way for me to process and respond, and a good way to jump into the fray.”

    John Martinek currently resides in Coralville with his partner Greta Songe and one son, Emmett.  During the daytime he works at McDonough Structures in Iowa City as a project manager and carpenter.  He is also a member of the board of directors at the Iowa Children’s Museum.  Martinek received an MFA in printmaking and drawing from the University of Iowa in 1996.