Antonio Jacob Martinez



Antonio Jacob Martinez earned his BFA in painting at Creighton University in 2001 and an MFA in photography at East Carolina University in 2005. Antonio has been teaching photography courses at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, IL since 2005. His first notable body of work, Near the Egress, grabbed the attention of Houston Fotofest 2010 reviewers such as Jim Casper of Lensculture, Robert Rauschenberg of Blue Sky Gallery, and Lisa Sutcliffe of SFMOMA, for its non-conventional use of modern tintype photography and stop-motion video. Years later, Antonio presented his cage fighting series, How to Hug and Other Sublimations of Men, to reviewers and collectors at the Houston Fotofest 2016 and PhotoNOLA 2016 portfolio review session, and, again, received praise for pushing the boundaries of post-production photographic techniques. Antonio is currently learning the craft of quilt making to produce a series of photographs about anonymous male sperm donors. The first of this ongoing series will be viewable at the KANEKO center in Omaha in the summer of 2018 as part a traveling exhibition.


Selected Juried and Invited Exhibitions & Screenings

When Things Are Strange, University of North Dakota, March 2017 (juried )
Water, Midwest Center for Photography, Wichita, KS, April 2017 (juried)
Transzioni, Near the Egress, Bergamo, Italy, Feb-March, 2017 (invited by Irene Pancaldi)
How to Hug and Other Sublimations of Men, Clemens Fine Art Center, Paducah, KY Sept-Oct 2016 (invited)
Light Factory 8th Annual, How to Hug and Other Sublimations of Men, Light Factory, Charlotte, NC Sept 2016 (juried FRESH, KlompChing Gallery, Brooklyn, NY, July-August, 2016 (juried by Darren Ching and WM Hunt)
Flesh and Bone II, Hillyer Art Space, Washington D.C., 2016 ( juried by Judy Byron)
Nature of Masculinity, Freeport Art Museum, Freeport, IL, June 2016 (invited by Chicago Curator’s Group, Tommy Reyes) Body 2016, ph21 Gallery, Budapest, Hungary, Feb 2016 (juried by Zsolt Batori^)
Seite/Self, Darkroom Gallery, Essex, VT January 2016 (juried by Aline Smithson)
Flight, PhotoPlace Gallery, Middlebury, VT, 2016 (juried by Laura Moya)
TPS Cellphone IV Exhibition,, Feb 2016 (juried by Meri Aaron Walker)
Automic, Small Engine Gallery, Albuquerque, NM, 2016 Feb-Mar (juried Adam Finkelston)
Near the Egress, Experimental/Avantgarde Filmfest, Filmhous Cavia, Amsterdam Feb., 2016 (curated Ronald V Bijleveld) How to Hug and Other Sublimations of Men, Creighton University, Omaha, NE Sept-Oct 2015 (invited by Michael Flecky) Alternative Visions, DOMA Gallery, Charlotte, NC, Oct. 2011 ( curated by Gabrielle Larew)
Projections, Near the Egress, Ballarat International Foto Biennial, Ballarat, Australia, Aug. 2011 (invited screening)
Visions on Film, Near the Egress, Triennale Der Photographie Hamburg, Germany, April 6, 2011 (invited screening) Muybridge and His Legacy, Near the Egress, SFMOMA, March 1, (invited screening by Lisa Sutcli e)
Eye Myth, Near the Egress, Technodrome Festival, New Dehli, Feb 26-28, 2011 (invited screening)
Variations - A Photography Exhibition, Las Manos Gallery, Chicago, Feb 2011 (invited by Tommy Reyes)
e Slideluck Potshow Paris, NtE, Le Comptoir Ge´neral (Canal Saint Martin) Paris, June 23, 2010 (invited by Jim Casper)
Of Memory, Bone and Myth, University of North Dakota, March 2010
Rehearse, Rewind, Repeat: Photography, Video and Performance, Ohio University, January 2010 (Curated by Kelli Conell) Digital to Physical, Anderson Ranch Arts Center, January 2010 (Curated by Kirsten Gerdes)
13th Annual SECAC and MACAA Juried Exhibition, 1708 Gallery, Richmond, VA, October 2010
Near the Egress, Blue Sky Gallery, Portland, OR, August 2010 (invited by Robert Rauschenberg)
Tenderpix Experimental and Soho Shorts, Tenderpixel Gallery, London, England, July 24-31 2009 (juried)
Optica- Festival Internacional de Videoarte, Near the Egress, Barcelona, Spain; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Gijon, Spain; Madrid, Spain; Bilbao, Spain, Cordoba, Spain; Huarte, Spain, Paris, France (juried)
2009 Strasbourg International Film Festival, Near the Egress, Strasbourg, France, Aug 28 –Sept 6 (juried)
Centre for Art Tapes, Near the Egress, Halifax, Nova Scotia, April 2009 (juried)
Miracles, Spectacles, & Small Mistakes: Selected Work, University of North Carolina, Charlotte (solo exhibition)
4th Biennial Juried Photography Exhibition, Wellington Gray Gallery, Greenville, NC 2004 (juried by Maggie Taylor)


Arthur Roger Private Collection, Portland Art Museum Permanent Collection, Lehigh University Museum Permanent Collection, Freeport Art Museum Permanent Collection, Gary Kolb Private Collection, Creighton University Permanent Collection 


How to Hug and Other Sublimations of Men is an expressionistic interpretation of the modern sport of mixed martial arts, aka Cagefighting, with emphasis on the conflation of violence and intimacy between two men who compete to win the respect and praise of spectators (friends, family, and strangers). Between 2008-2010, I trained and participated in the popular sport of MMA in Southern Illinois as a way to understand why male amateur athletes, young and old, would follow a desire to participate in such a violent sport during their leisure time. After experiencing my first fight, I recognize the spiritual, psychological, and visceral components in this vestigial rite of passage for alpha male dominance. All of the following encompasses the beauty and tragedy of this sport: the vulnerability of the flesh, nervous calculations of the mind, raw performances of the body, the exchanges of pain for praise, and the desire for validation.

The process of production involved dramatic sports photography, combined with carefully selected edits to the tones and color of the flesh, followed with hand-applied abrasive marks on the printed image to evoke a feeling of a sublimation of the flesh and spirit. The end result of the process yields painterly studies of young men experiencing moments of vulnerability and physical duress as they perform in a theatre of sport and manhood.