Native heritage and the West explored in painting exhibition

CHEYENNE, Wyoming – A captivating painting exhibition exploring complex themes with astounding visuals is coming to Laramie County Community College as part of the Ed & Caren Murray Art Series. 

Born on the Wind River Reservation in central Wyoming, esteemed artist Robert Martinez's diverse heritage — including Spanish, Mexican, Scotch-Irish, French Canadian and Northern Arapaho roots — infuses his artwork with a rich tapestry of cultures and influences.

Martinez's artistic journey began at a young age, growing up amidst the vibrant traditions of his Native American heritage. The close-knit community and the issues faced by the hardworking people of the West profoundly shaped his creative expression. Now, his latest collection reflects his exploration of historical imagery, myths and stories from the West and Arapaho culture, interwoven with contemporary themes, offering poignant statements on present-day challenges.

With his masterful command of intense, vibrant colors and skillful use of contrasting light and dark shades, Martinez creates striking forms that confront and engage viewers on a profound level. The visual narratives within his paintings and drawings resonate with the echoes of Wyoming's past and present, unveiling a multi-layered dialogue that captivates the observer's imagination.

Martinez's talent has garnered well-deserved recognition across the nation. Notably, he has received Wyoming's highest accolade for the arts, the Wyoming Governor's Art Award. His extraordinary works have found their rightful place in esteemed permanent collections, including the Wyoming State Museum, The Brinton Museum, The Plains Indian Museum at the Cody Center of the West, and the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.

Beyond his artistic achievements, Martinez is a staunch advocate for education and the arts. Devoting his time to mentoring emerging artists on the reservation and nationwide, he generously contributes to his community. Martinez shares his expertise through engaging workshops, enlightening discussions on art-related topics, and captivating demonstrations for schools, agencies and art groups.

Through the LCCC Foundation, the Ed & Caren Murray Art Series is an annual event at the college that brings new art and artists to campus through gallery shows, workshops, presentations and public receptions. Founded through a generous endowment gift from Ed and Caren Murray, this event kicks off the LCCC Foundation's Cultural and Community Enrichment Series each August.

The free exhibition will be on display 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Aug. 14-Sept. 8 in the Esther and John Clay Fine Art Gallery at the Surbrugg/Prentice Auditorium on the LCCC Cheyenne campus. An opening reception is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.-8 p.m. Aug. 24. Food and refreshments will be provided.

To learn more, go to lccc.wy.edu/culturalseries or call 307.778.1110.