Baldwin Gallery presents an exhibition of new work by acclaimed contemporary Cuban artist Enrique Martínez Celaya. His work in painting, sculpture, photography, poetry, and prose directly engages with the interior life and delves into his background in literature, philosophy, science, and religion. His imagery is steeped in his refugee childhood, his background in physics, and a deeply personal dream-state visual iconography: using figures in emotive landscapes to address the universalities of the human experience with time, memory, identity, and displacement.


One dark night,

Fired with love’s urgent longings

— Ah, the sheer grace! —

I went out unseen,

My house being now all stilled.”

From Dark Night of the Soul by San Juan de la Cruz


There are twelve paintings and one sculpture in A Third of the Night, a project that surges from questions about the world in the face of human problems, uncertainty, and losses. It is also influenced by reflections on the exilic imagination and its longing for home.

These paintings and sculptures seem to point to a charged moment when awareness recognizes that something is happening or about to happen. In a journey, this could be the moment of departure, arrival, or recognition that it is the end, as in the painting, The Night, where the figure glances at the horizon as the boat sinks. Is this a glance of recognition of the situation—the unfinished odyssey—or is it the last look at the world and our projections? Whichever the case—and there are many other possibilities—it is a moment of inflection that opens an insurmountable gap between the before and the after”, notes Martínez Celaya

“The exhibition title” he continues, “comes from the Book of Revelation, 8:12: “The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night.” At this point in the scripture, three angels have delivered calamities to the earth. Then it is the turn of the fourth angel to bring darkness—confusion, obscurity, shadowy understandings. Two-thirds of the stars still shine, and it is this visible sky I chose to reference in all the works, an intentional visual consistency that is unusual in my exhibitions. Unlike many painters, I rarely use a repeated motif or reference in my projects, preferring a conceptual, emotional, or philosophical throughline”


Enrique Martínez Celaya was born in Palos, Cuba in 1964 but was relocated with his family when he was eight years old to Spain. Martínez Celaya came to the United States in 1982 as a physics student and received a BS in applied physics from Cornell University and an MS in quantum electronics from the University of California, Berkeley. Before completing his doctorate however, he abandoned his physics studies to pursue painting. He earned his MFA from the University of California, Santa Barbara and was granted a fellowship at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine. His work is in the permanent collections of Contemporary Museum, Honolulu; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles; the Sheldon Museum of Art, Lincoln, Nebraska; Denver Art Museum; Miami Art Museum; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and the Museum der bildenden Künste, Leipzig, Germany, among many others.

12 February – 14 March, 2021

The Baldwin Gallery

209 S Galena Street, Aspen, CO