Man can’t give up dolls |

Man can’t give up dolls

Robyn Moormeister

Virginia City sculptor Edw Martinez is a grown man, but he just can’t resist playing with dolls.

His collection of evocative, colorful and eerie ceramic dolls is on display at the Nevada Arts Council’s Carson City office through Nov. 30 as part of its office exhibition series.

His creations start as molds of plastic baby dolls, which he transforms into homages to other artists, biblical interpretations and re-creations of ancient Mayan culture political statements.

“This is ‘Never Heard From Again,'” he said, waving at a bound and gagged doll hanging on the office’s red wall. “It refers to the civil wars in Guatemala when you had all of those people disappearing.”

Next to that, his Judas doll hangs from a noose in an open box made from a forklift pallet.

His homage to popular 1980s artist Jean-Michel Basquiat is a doll’s face obscured by a mini-version of one of Basquiat’s paintings.

Martinez said the inspiration for his dolls came to him on his return plane ride from Guatemala.

He stared at a Peruvian burial doll he bought the night before he left, and he had a “visual epiphany.”

“It reminded me of my previous work,” he said. “I wanted to return to what I was doing 30 years ago.”

For the past 16 months, he has created 200 of the little clay effigies.

He keeps his dolls, collected at thrift shops, in a big plastic bag in his Virginia City home.

“My wife hates it,” he said.

Martinez has been in Nevada creating art for more than four decades.

A nationally known artist, his work has shown in more than 300 regional, national and international exhibits.

He was awarded the Nevada Governor’s Arts Award for Excellence in the Visual Arts in 1998.

“It’s the highest honor a local artist can have,” said Susan Boskoff, executive director of the Nevada Arts Council. “We’re honored to have his work here.”

The Nevada Arts Council’s Office Exhibition series spotlights Nevada artists recognized by one of the council’s programs.

For exhibition schedules, visit the Arts Council Web site at

Contact reporter Robyn Moormeister at or 881-1217.