Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Out of the Line: Consumer Processions and other Neo-Colonial Encounters

It's been a while since my last blog entry but I'm back and with much to share. In recent months I've been busy finishing most of the work that forms part of "Devocionales, Neo-colonial Retablos from an archetypal perspective", a project I intend to publish very soon. but first I would like to share with you some of my recent insights and work that are closely related to the project as they also deal with the notion of archetypes and Neo-colonial issues.  

Patrick McGrath Muñiz
The Empty Cart (2013) 
Ink and tempera on Amate paper 15" x 24"

The concepts and ideas behind my work have come a long way in a matter of months just by concentrating on the painting process and letting go of my books on Astrology, Tarot, Global Politics and History for a while. I noticed my work was becoming too esoteric and therefore too complex to comprehend even for myself working with so many concepts put together. Art school taught me to push the limits asking for a justification behind everything in the creative process. While this is a good thing, it can also become a heavy burden. Once you learn how to think and question every action you may become obsessed with theory. This is the time to turn the uptight "academic ask it all" switch off, clear your mind, embrace your instincts and simply paint. You might find some interesting and beautiful forms be born out of this simple action. While I enjoy theorizing and carefully planning every symbol and every narrative in my work, sometimes I enjoy even more allowing my characters to just be, breathe, wander and interact with each other freely. That was precisely my intention with these.

 Patrick McGrath Muñiz
Welcome to Floridaland (2013) 
Ink and tempera on Amate paper 15" x 24"

Freeing your mind from the fetters of theory and just painting may surprisingly strengthen  the theoretical structure behind your work, it also allows the work to flow in a more free, honest, spontaneous way, filtering out any redundant and superfluous ideas and imagery. At least that has been the case with my work in recent weeks.

 Patrick McGrath Muñiz
El Disneyrican Dremaer (2013) 
Oil on canvas 24" x 30"

Although most of these paintings and drawings are inspired in familiar narratives (Christopher Columbus encounter with the Indigenous population or "The Fool" card from the Tarot, they bring something new into the conversation, the consumer pop culture experience. In the present we may be migrating and colonizing new promised lands (Puerto Ricans and other Latin American groups migrating to the US) but at the same time our minds and bodies are colonized by products and media designed in the interests of large transnational corporations. Just as C. Columbus offered glass beads and small bells to the first Tainos he encountered in exchange for gold, the present ruling Corpocracy offers us useless consumer products in exchange for our souls, cultural identity and environment. This work is a response to history and our current neo-colonial paradigm.  

 Patrick McGrath Muñiz
The Escape Plan (2013) 
Oil on panel 24" x 36"

Even as I may seem to turn the "Academic, ask it all" switch off,  the same core concepts, narratives, and recurring archetypes are still there as if they were ingrained in my soul. This in my view just reinforces the discourse behind the work.

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