David Castillo Gallery presents New Mythologies, an exhibition of works by artists Pepe Mar, Jillian Mayer, and Asser Saint-Val.
New Mythologies explores three case studies in which the invention of a belief system emerges as both the foundation and consequence of art-making. In their respective practices, Mar, Mayer, and Saint-Val each treat the internal logic of their works as stable narratives with recurring themes, characters, or ideologies which speculate upon the conditions of our time in history. These fictions negotiate the same corollaries of mythology as a medium for didactic exposition and interpretation.
In its popular usage, mythology is commonly understood to belong solely to the realm of early human civilizations, where oral traditions imparted teachings of natural or social phenomena-everything from creation to the weather-in often allegorical stories of otherworldly heroes and gods. The 19th century British folklorist Sir G.L. Gomme described mythology as the "science of a pre-scientific age". In his 1957 book Mythologies, French theorist Roland Barthes demystified the ideological function of mythology in the modern era, arguing that it serves as a symbolic reflection of human experience. In this regard, mythology relays an understanding of the time, culture, and circumstance in which it was created. Mythology is the contrivance of its age, and it serves as a vehicle in which the deeper, often allusive messages of its time can traffic.
Pepe Mar works from a self-fashioned iconography that references his native Mexico, the queer club scene of the last thirty years, as well as the visual trajectory of his sixteen year career. The sacred mythologies of his early works take the form of celebrity gossip and tabloid news; the sources for the clippings that comprised much of his paper collages and sculptures. He makes reference to this visual legacy in a new body of fabric paintings in which he collages custom textiles printed with images from his past artworks. His visual vocabulary demarcates an invented and layered landscape in which found objects and images from throughout popular culture and the history of art take on the form of gods and goddesses, great beasts and apocalyptic destroyers.