Ilyana Martinez




Join us Thursday, October 23, 7 pm
hosted by Headbones Gallery, 6700 Old Kamloops Rd., Vernon 

Please join us for an Artist Presentation by Ilyana Martinez from Toronto, Canada 

About the Artist

See more work by Ilyana Martinez at the Z’otz Collective website.Ilyana Martinez

Ilyana Martinez graduated with honours from the Ontario College of Art & Design, and received an  Advanced Visual Studies Certificate, Florence, Italy. She studied design at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and also Yale University, Switzerland, also taking part in the Exchange Program, Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication, UK.

Her works have been shown internationally in Honduras, Mexico, New York, Guatemala, Croatia, Puerto Rico, Serbia, Italy, and in Canada at many Toronto venues and also at the Dunlop Art Gallery, Regina. In 2007, the Z’otz Collective exhibited Modified Inuition, at Vertigo Gallery, Vernon BC.

In 2013 she was the recipient of the Pollock–Krasner Foundation Grant, and has received many awards and grants for her work and the Z’otz Collective, Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council Emerging Artist Grant, Art Registry Program, Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, CA. She was the selected artist for The Viewing Program, The Drawing Center, New York, NY in 2007. Her work is held in the Donovan Collection.

Artist StatementIlyana Martinez

The contrast and juxtaposition of the urban and natural worlds is the focus of my work. As a city dweller, I am drawn to urban spaces, but also to the uninhabited ones that are places full of mystery and wonder, where my imagination takes off. The natural realm is alive with endless growth, sprouting seeds, clinging roots, plants, and dirt. The built environment of the city is a concrete one, fabricated with structures, wires, grids and geometry.

The blank page leads me to explore these contrasts, to make vague ideas tangible, planting them in a context and nurturing them with brush, watercolour and ink. Foundations are laid and elements built up, one upon the other to create illusory communities. Buildings are transformed to flora, while seeds germinate structures. A fragile city floats in space, while another dense metropolis is firmly rooted on land. The urban and the natural fuse together at times sustaining one another, but growth and decay have an equal hand.

While the small format requires close attention and an intimacy with the paper, the drawings’ content portrays a vastness. There is a focus on distant spatial relationships: aerial views of the land, its rivers, bridges, roads and buildings. Creating these places is like charting a voyage to make the imaginary a reality. These works are maps that echo the importance of drawing as an artistic and personal language.

Ilyana Martinez
Ilyana Martinez (centre), Janice Buick – ABNC events coordinator (left), and Aaron Deans, ABNC Executive Director (right) at the Allan Brooks Nature Centre

The Project

My work is of small format on paper, ranging in size from 5” ~  7” to 14” ~  19”. The process I employ combines watercolour, gouache, ink, and pencil. The focus is on imagery from the natural world (plants, branches, seeds, rocks, roots, bodies of water) merged with images from urban environments (buildings, roads, structures, grids). Layered in with these are depictions from the imagination.

To create my drawings, I play at being an archaeologist, a gardener, a builder, a cartographer.

Starting from the unknown, the blank page incites me to explore vague ideas, to plant them in a context, to nurture them, and create systems that give direction. Foundations are laid and elements built up to create illusory communities. As in an archaeological site, things are uncovered and discoveries are made. The urban and the natural combine together and sustain one another. All is transformed as buildings become plants, and seeds sprout structures. Growth and decay have an equal hand.

The drawings are a testimony of a voyage with improvisation and chaos. They are maps that echo the importance of drawing as an artistic and personal language. The works also communicate a concern about our tenuous relationship to the environment.

OBJECTIVEIlyana Martinez

A significant part of my studio practice involves a study of the natural world as a starting point: a collection of objects found while walking and hiking such as rocks, pinecones, seeds, leaves, and fragments of roots and branches are examined, sketched, and used directly as sources for the final drawings. Landscapes sketches are also an essential element of the work.

The Fresh AIR Residency at Allan Brooks Nature Centre will provide me with a tremendous opportunity to explore, study and sketch the biodiversity of the Okanagan, and to engage with the people who live there. I will have the time and space to fully dedicate myself to my artwork amidst an ideal and inspirational environment, and to gain knowledge about this unique terrain. I will photograph the landscape on a macro and micro level and use these images as additional sources. The research will enhance my understanding of the topography of the area, an important and unique region of Canada.


I intend to show the completed series in exhibition at an artist-run centre or gallery. By exhibiting the work and sharing it with the public, I wish to bring attention to this essential territory of British Columbia. The works will allow the viewer to experience the landscape and in a sense, to take a journey there. They will have a chance to interact with nature in an innovative way, in these tranquil spaces for reflection and meditation.

Allan Brooks Nature Centre

Thanks to Aaron Deans and the Allan Brooks Nature Centre for providing endless studio space and support for all our Fresh! AiR artists.