By Deborah Bishop, January 4, 2023
Luxe Interior + Design / Architecture + Design
This Phoenix Artist Looks Inside—Literally—To Capture Her Subjects
In addition to the expected pigments, canvases and paintbrushes, the studio of Phoenix-based artist Monica Aissa Martinez is also chock-full of anatomy books and science journals—all overseen by a full-size skeleton. Martinez, who holds an MFA in drawing and printmaking, is more focused on what lies beneath the surface of the skin than what can be seen with the naked eye.

Martinez’s current artistic journey was sparked during an intensive yoga program over a decade ago. Sketching anatomical forms in her notebook as her teacher described them, she turned the drawings into detailed studies that became the building blocks for her large-scale body portraits. “It was life changing to realize I could tell intricate stories about people by using their physiology as a jumping-off point,” she says. 

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By Lynn Trimble, October 24, 2022
Southwest Contemporary
Work in Progress with Monica Aissa Martinez


Black silhouettes of bees and other creatures painted with stencils dot the sidewalk leading to Monica Aissa Martinez’s home in Phoenix, where she’s been making art for two decades in spaces others might have used for dining or watching television.

Her walls are filled with artworks from different periods of her creative journey, along with pieces by other artists, and an eclectic array of books and small decorative objects that give the space a cozy yet vibrant feel.

Inside the studio, where Martinez spends six or seven hours most days, she’s got an architect’s drawing table along a window overlooking a tree she’s particularly fond of, a tabletop where she often sets smaller pieces in progress, and another surface topped with paints, brushes, and other materials.

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By Lara Plecas, June 26, 2022

artist bw

Monica Aissa Martinez is doing two back-to-back museum exhibitions this year. Both are solo shows, both titled “Nothing Is Stasis.” The first is currently installed at the MCA (Mesa Contemporary Arts) Museum, running through August 7th, and the second will open at the Tucson Museum of Art on September 1 (through April 23, 2023). These exhibits bring to fruition the work of Martinez, whose career spans nearly 40 years.

Monica Aissa Martinez is doing two back-to-back museum exhibitions this year. Both are solo shows, both titled “Nothing Is Stasis.” The first is currently installed at the MCA (Mesa Contemporary Arts) Museum, running through August 7th, and the second will open at the Tucson Museum of Art on September 1 (through April 23, 2023). These exhibits bring to fruition the work of Martinez, whose career spans nearly 40 years.

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By Laurent Gilger, February 7, 2022 12:24pm
Arizona medical students show gratitude for body donation through art
ArtInMedSchoolNPR, KJAZZ, The Show → Listen

By Steve Goldstein – July 1, 2021 12:59pm
Visual Artist Monica Aissa Martinez: Made In Arizona

NPR, KJZZ, The Show →  Listen

By Mikey Foster Estes – February 2, 2019

Paper, as opposed to precursors such as papyrus, has only been around for about 2,000 years – its exact origins are unknown. The earliest documented papermaking process can be traced back to second-century China and Cai Lun, who is often regarded as the inventor of paper. Over the course of several centuries, his invention traveled into the Islamic world and then to Europe, where the wood-based paper of modern times would eventually be developed in the nineteenth century. The twenty-two artists in In, On and Of Paper, all of whom happen to be women, approach paper from a variety of angles: as a substrate, a raw material, a document.

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By Lynn Trimble – January 22, 2019
Running with Scissors: Artists Push Paper’s Boundaries at Bentley Gallery

A bright red sculpture of a nude woman surrounded by hundreds of silver scissors sits just inside the entrance to Bentley Gallery. Created by Dani Godreau, the kneeling figure that’s part of her Mea Culpa installation appears to be creating a circle of scissors that rises from concrete floor to gallery wall, paying homage to both women’s labor and traditional craft.

It’s a theme carried through the gallery, where works by 22 women artists pushing the boundaries of material and meaning are part of the “In, On & Of Paper” exhibition that continues through March 9. It’s thoughtfully curated by Rembrandt Quiballo, an artist whose own body of work includes digital manipulations of women’s images that question social norms.

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VoyagePhoenix – January 29, 2019
Art & Life with Monica Aissa Martinez

Today we’d like to introduce you to Monica Aissa Martinez.

Monica Aissa, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
Born and raised in El Paso, Texas, my world is small in some ways and then big in others. I have six siblings. All of us appreciate the arts – visual, music, performance and writing.

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By Nicole Royce, September, 23, 2018
YabYum Seven: Monica Aissa Martinez

Who are you and what do you do?

I spent the summer as an Artist-in-Residence at the Tempe Center for the Arts. I was studying and drawing the human brain.

Last month I would have answered with: I am a nervous system. I am neurons and glia firing up a brain.

The last few weeks I’ve been looking at microorganisms – bacteria, viruses, fungi and archea. Today I am an organism made up of micro- organisms. I am human microbiome.

I am a visual artist / creative matter. I draw and paint human anatomy and physiology.

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By Kayla Goggin  February 17, 2016
State of the Art: Telfair brings the artists to you
Opening at Jepson Center is Thursday

ACCORDING TO a 2014 report from the National Endowment for the Arts, there are over two million working artists in America. That means there are more artists at work today than ever before.

So why are so many museums and galleries showing the same work from the same people over and over again?

Where the hell are all the artists?! → continue reading


By Randy Kennedy July 15, 2014
Crystal Bridges Lines Up Emerging Artists for American Show

After a restless cross-country search in which two curators logged more than 100,000 miles in airplanes and rental cars, the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art – founded by the Walmart heiress Alice Walton – announced Tuesday that it had finalized its artist list for an ambitious fall show → Continue Reading


JP-CRYSTAL-1-2By Randy Kennedy Feb 8, 2014
Seeking U.S. Art All Over Map. Just Check GPS.

 PHOENIX — Two men stepped out of a rental car here recently and walked up to a modest ranch-style house with a cat and a grapefruit tree in the yard, worried that the homeowner might mistake them for missionaries or salesmen → Continue Reading

thp 2014-02-12-Womanimageinstudio

Don Bacigalupi – Feb 12, 2014
Notes From the Road: Phoenix

In Phoenix, AZ, Chad and I visited artist Monica Aissa Martinez. Her large, richly detailed and colorful paintings begin with the anatomical structure of the human body, but manage to fold in the artist’s love of the maps collected by her grandfather → Continue reading

studiobmBecky Bartikowski Feb 2014
Monica Aissa Martinez and 7 Other Arizona Artists Considered for “State of the Art” at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Phoenix artist Monica Aissa Martinez is among the American artists being considered for inclusion in the exhibition “State of the Art” at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, according to a recent New York Times piece.

The show will feature works from 100 unsung artists from across the country. It’s slated to open Saturday, September 13 → continue reading

SOTAMartinezMonicaAissaKatrina Montogomery Aug 26, 2014
4 Phoenix Artists Selected for “State of the Art”
at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Earlier this year we found out that eight Arizona artists were being considered for the “State of the Art: Discovering America Now” exhibition at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. We are excited to announce that four of those artists have been chosen to display work in the final show, and they → continue reading


Ramón Rentería Sept 6, 2014
Former El Pasoan’s work selected for prestigiuos exhibition

Monica Aissa Martinez calls the national attention that she’s receiving “a little bout of success.”

Martinez, an El Paso native living in Phoenix, is among 102 artists from across the United States selected for “State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now,” a major exhibition opening Saturday at the prestigious Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art → continue reading


Nicole Royse August 26,  2015
Monica Aissa Martinez: Body Awareness in a New Light

A fascination with the human body, animals, and technology and its effects on us as a society are the inspiration for the intricate paintings and drawings by talented → continue reading


1 thought on “Press

  1. Pingback: state of the art – discovering american art now | Monica Aissa Martinez

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