16.75 in H x 8.375 in W
Catalogue Number
Current Location

About the Artist

Maria Martinez-Canas

BirthplaceHavana, Cuba
CitizenshipUnited States
Cultural HeritageCuban-American
Light Work RelationshipArtist-in-Residence, 1990
Robert B. Menschel Gallery, 1996 (Group Exhibition)


For a more recent CV or bio please visit the artist's website, https://www.mariamartinez-canas.com/

MARIA MARTINEZ-CANAS was born in Havana, Cuba. She received a B.F.A. in Photography from the Philadelphia College of Art and an M.F.A. in Photography from The School of The Art Institute of Chicago. An artist who works with innovative, non-traditional photographic media, she has exhibited extensively in the United States and abroad, with 47 one-person exhibitions and over 300 group exhibitions.

She is the recipient of a Pollock-Krasner Foundation 2016 Photography Fellowship, a Civitella Ranieri Foundation Visual Arts Fellowship, Cintas Fellowship; a National Endowment for the Arts award; and a Fulbright-Hays Grant, among others. Her works are included in the permanent collections of The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia; The Museum of Modern Art in New York; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco; The Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, Arizona; the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and the National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC; among others.

She lives and works in Miami since 1986.

circa 2018



Maria Martinez-Canas explores the expression of exile and alienation in the images reproduced here from her most recent body of work.

Forced to leave Cuba at an early age, Martinez-Canas turned to maps, historical documents and lately the work of Cuban artist Wilfredo Lam, as source and inspiration for her photographic assemblages. While physically returning to Cuba is a political impossibility for Martinez-Canas, recalling her heritage is a human necessity. The expression of the tension and sense of loss incumbent in this dilemma informs her work with urgency shrouded by a detached coolness.

From a distance her photographic assemblages resemble obscure cultural icons composed of jagged marks and fragmented shapes. On closer inspection we see that the highlights and sharp edges of the work are filled with the contours of architectural details and the glimmer of human forms. Her photographic totems of repeated patterns and rhythmic forms search for order, yet remain disjointed. The individual images of city vistas, life forms, and details of statues and stonework are the cadence of the artist's method of recognition and reclamation. Through this manner of expressing her personal sense of exile, Martinez-Canas creates a language of private symbols as she builds a chain of images from the past to the present.

Maria Martinez-Canas lives in Miami, Florida and participated in our Artist-in-Residence program from May 15 - June 15, 1990.

Jeffrey Hoone (c)1990