Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Re-Inventing Icons: Revising Christian Iconography



As part of my upcoming solo show "Re-Inventing Icons" in Antigua Guatemala, I have revised my personal research on Colonial Iconography. Nearly five years after my Thesis project "Iconsumer", where I explored the relationship between Latin American Colonial imagery and consumer culture propaganda, my work has evolved.  In recent years I've been more interested in the esoteric meaning behind art. Reading about Mythology, Astrology, Tarot and Alchemy has led me to the inevitable conclusion that behind Roman Catholic imagery and mass-media/consumerist propaganda, there are recurrent themes and patterns that become more visible after some study and comparison. After re-interpreting these images in paint, I have detected a constant re-invention of certain universal archetypes. Archetypes are the primary source that shape all the forms in the world no matter what time or country we live in. The archetypes are the universal souls breathing within any mythic, religious, contemporary figure or image one may encounter.  For example the "Venus/Isis" archetype can be clearly projected upon famous female celebrities and models on TV as well as on the image of the Immaculate Conception. 

"As above so below" 28" x 52" (Oil on canvas 2010)

By learning which common archetype lies behind any image brings new light to understanding the complex relationship and recurring themes present in past and present art. In my research I have gathered images that have served as visual agents in service of the interest of Colonial and Neo-Colonial powers. By Neo-Colonial powers, I mean modern-day transnational corporations with their mass marketing and consumerist agenda. Drawing the line from our present world culture to colonial and ancient cultures in these painting evokes themes that are timeless and transcendental. The idea of finding deep similarities between consumerist imagery and religious imagery has extended on to Colonial and Neo-Colonial issues in my recent project "Re-inventing Icons".

Allegory to Temperance 20" x 20" Oil on canvas (2011)

In this project I explore and re-interpret the traditional representation of Christian Icons, mythological and allegorical subject matter. This is done in the light of contemporary neo-colonialism from mass-media culture and consumerism. My work is the meeting point of 4 cardinal ideas: Colonialism, Neo-colonialism, Mythology and Religion. Inspired by the symbolism and imagery of these, I depict Icons that evoke the underlying primary archetypal energies that have influenced our world. Adopting Renaissance and Baroque oil painting techniques enables me to emulate indoctrination strategies that recall the time of the conquest and colonization of the Americas. This allows me to question today’s assumptions of the demise of colonialism with its ideological agenda.

"Globadoracion" 48" x 48" Oil on canvas (2010-11)

The opening to the exhibition "Re-Inventing Icons" will be held on June 4th 4, 2011 at La Antigua, Galeria de Arte. The gallery is located at 4a. Calle Oriente no. 15 La Antigua, Guatemala. The exhibition will be up until July 3th, 2011. If you happen to be in Guatemala or plan to be in Central America near those dates, make sure you don't miss the show. For more information you may visit the gallery website at:
Or visit my official website at:
http://www.patrickmcgrath-art.com/

You can also find additional information in Spanish and English at the following links:
Agenda Cultural de Antigua
Siglo 21 de Guatemala
At Guate.com

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