Martine Gutierrez

Indigenous Woman Magazine

22 Apr –
18 Jun 2023

Martine Gutierrez is a transdisciplinary American artist who lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Born in Berkeley, California, in 1989, her mother is American and her father is from Guatemala. For Gutierrez, culture and gender were particularly complex issues because of the prevailing biases and values of the ‘white-centric’ community of Vermont where she grew up.

Language never seemed like a way to clarify who I was…  For a long time I have been living fluid concepts of gender with an awareness that the space between the binaries is the only place to find complete freedom.
Martine Gutierrez, Autre Magazine, 2020

After graduating from Rhode Island School of Design in 2012, Gutierrez moved to New York and from 2013 she has worked across social media and filmic platforms to create and produce music videos, billboard campaigns, episodic films, photographs, publications and performance art. She has been described as a shape shifting artist who subverts conventional notions of beauty and identity to explore issues of sexism, racism, and transphobia.

Works in Gutierrez’s exhibition are from Indigenous Woman 2018, a 124-page satirical fashion magazine in which she starred as editor, model, stylist, and photographer. Works have been selected from three series of self-portraits reproduced in the magazine - Neo-Indeo, Masking and Queer Rage.

In her Neo Indeo studio portraits, Gutierrez is dressed in Guatemalan textiles, adorned with old and contemporary objects. The fabrics belong to her grandmother and reference her Mayan Indian heritage. The process of staging her photographs took her back in time to when she was a child and would dress up in the fabrics and create stories and different identities around the different animals that were intricately woven into the material.

Gutierrez’ Queer Rage series explores issues of transsexual identity, including her own preteen queer rage represented by the handmade muñecas, a type of doll that is commonly seen in markets throughout Mexico and Central America.

The Masking series explores complexities of beauty rituals that involve masking of facial features in such a way that identity is both revealed and hidden. In these images the artist’s natural facial features are obscured and replaced by pieces of exotic fruit and items of jewellery. In so doing the identity changes but the face remains identifiable, just different, raising questions about how facial makeup can both hide and reveal, and what remains once it is removed.

In her own words, Indigenous Woman is a self-declared celebration of her Mayan Indian heritage and a navigation of ‘contemporary indigeneity and the ever-evolving self-image.’

Indigenous Woman marries the traditional to the contemporary, the native to the post-colonial, and the marginalized to the mainstream in the pursuit of genuine selfhood, revealing cultural inequities along the way. This is a quest for identity. Of my own specifically, yes, but by digging my pretty, painted nails deeply into the dirt of my own image I am also probing the depths for some understanding of identity as a social construction. 

In 2019, works from Indigenous Woman were selected for the prestigious 58th International Art Exhibition at the Venice Biennale. Public response was immediate,

‘…one can’t help but stop in one’s tracks before the work of Martine Gutierrez. The transgender Latinx photographer’s self-portraits challenge gender stereotypes, offer up new visions of pop-cultural icons, and commingle tropes of high fashion and indigenous cultures.
Jean-François Rauzier, Giverny, 2019


Selected Works




1. Martine Gutierrez
Born Berkeley, CA, USA, 1989
Neo-Indeo, Cheek a Boom
p23 from Indigenous Woman  2018
137.2 x 91.4 cm
Edition of 8
© Martine Gutierrez; courtesy of the artist and RYAN LEE Gallery, New York.

2.Martine Gutierrez
Born Berkeley, CA, USA, 1989
Queer Rage, Imagine Life-Size, and I’m Tyra,
p66-67 from Indigenous Woman  2018
106.7 x 160 cm
Edition of 8
© Martine Gutierrez; courtesy of the artist and RYAN LEE Gallery, New York.

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