“THe Tenderness of Shedding”
by Leslie Martinez
“This intimate study titled, ‘The Tenderness of Shedding,’ holds high personal significance as one of the first works I made after coming out as trans in 2017. To name my transness 32 years into knowing it from the sidelines, meant that in this process of releasing it from private knowing, I began to concretize so much of what always felt ephemeral and untouchable about my life and work. For me, this study condenses a lot of thoughts and feelings about what opens up within the process of grief for a life not lived. I live with this work on the wall at the foot of my bed where it continues to transmit new ideas and ways forward. At the time I made it, I was consciously thinking and feeling around ideas of permeability, masking, shadow play, striction, conformity, and delicacy in relation to my trans subjectivity. The paper skin on the surface is larger than the canvas surface that it’s pinned to. I’ve used reflective trail marking tacks here with purpose. I desire for my forms of attachment and suspension to be hyper visible in the way that I’ve always felt my transness was most evident and painful while trying hardest to blend in and deny myself. They are like the fearful and threatened eyes of nocturnal creatures caught in the act of looking directly at you looking at them. In this paper skin’s task of fitting within or peeling back from the predetermined framework holding it in place, it ultimately opens a gap or pocket of permeable entrance and escape, manifesting itself physically as a beautiful wave that appears more strongly from the periphery or margins. This gets lost in translation once its objectness or physical reality is flattened back into an image of itself which in itself, is significant and fertile ground for further exploration.”
Leslie Martinez is a transmasculine Tejano artist born in the Rio Grande Valley of the South-Texas Mexican border. They received an MFA from Yale School of Art in 2018 and a BFA from The Cooper Union in 2008. They are currently living and working in Dallas, Texas.