lament and acquiesce

I alway get confused for Melissa Martinez. It’s the last name and the first initial.  Melissa is blue-eyed and blonde – I’m not. She designs installations and sculpture – I don’t.  She’s smart – okay, we both are.
We did both have work in the Local’s Only exhibition, at the Phoenix Art Museum, last year.

I receive an invitation to an art show, a simple dark card with the words lament and acquiesce in handwritten white text, along the center.  Melissa Martinez’s name is at the bottom of the card.  Direct, simple and beautiful.

Saturday afternoon, I decide to drop into Five15 art space.
I feel like I’m going into another world as I enter the dark, sparsely lit, bottle speckled environment.  Five15 is long and narrow. I grab the door jamb, I want to hold back a moment to get  grounded before I completely enter and get caught up in the experience.

Bottles hang from the ceiling. Lots of them. The room is a dark cobalt blue.

I hear something, but it doesn’t get my full attention right away.  Back to the bottles hanging, I follow the line down to see the floor is laid out with glass jars, containing water.  The water in the hanging bottles drips and fills the  jars. Some of the jars have overflowed and there’s water on the floor surrounding them.

Melissa greets me. We talk…about the installation first, and then about many other things including our last name, SB1070, and art.   I never stop looking at the work, because it really has caught my attention. We pause from our conversation, and then I hear…the drips. In the short silence the dripping gets louder.  Loud.

I understand why people go down to Roosevelt Row on Friday nights…crowds, excitement and fun…. But in this case, I certainly think the quiet time is best for the full experience.  I am  mesmerized by the installation.

I naturally gravitate to the floor. She allows me to sit among the bottles as we talk about her process and materials.  Idea comes first and then the parts, she says. She uses bottles and jars, plastic and glass, and cable to string the bottles.  And a small device from an outdoor drip system.  She times the drips, steady.  Some bottles drip and empty slower and some faster. She explains the first day she set it up they all dripped too fast.

I  want to do yoga in the space, because of the water element and the sound.  The whole thing…is womb like. Though it’s not warm and comfortable. It’s more meditative and allows for alertness.  I am very conscious of space and time.  The work is emotional, that’s part of the element of water. It’s probably why I instinctively wanted to get grounded as I entered.

In a nutsell, here is what I think…
Visit the installation. Get quiet. Be with whatever gets stirred. Take that in.
Melissa has created something poignant and worth experiencing.

The exhibit runs to the end of the month.  And don’t forget the 3rd Friday reception.

What: Lament and Acquiesce, an installation
Who: Melissa Martinez
Where: Five15, a contemporary art space
515 East Roosevelt
Phoenix, AZ 85004-1918
When: January 7-29th
Third Friday reception January 21, 5-9

For more info visit
or contact Melissa at

I’m happy to say…Melissa is the newest member of eye lounge, expect to see more of her there.
I did jokingly mention to her, I was the first M. Martinez in that space…

2 thoughts on “lament and acquiesce

  1. Dear “Monica Martinez”—with the brown hair,

    enjoyed your comments on this show. I too was attracted to these quietly dripping bottles of Melissa’s water. The low light, the variant dripping sounds, the fragility of the thin wires holding the bottles of what we in the desert regard as precious fluid. The installation itself is beautiful and haunting. The sound of the tiny, slow drips collecting in the simple mason-type jars brought to mind the simplicity of collecting rain water, or memories of a child’s aquarium of captured guppies, Water in an arid climate such as Phoenix is the subject of a different story than what might be told in other climates. The dark painted walls create a theatrical stage dramatized by Melissa’s Caravaggio-like lighting. The careful use of a precious resource–water is carefully rendered in this work. To wander into this space is to take a step into a profound arena that reflects a relevant issue for this community. Nice show. Nice job.


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