19.8 – 17.9 2022
New Mythologies II
19.08 – 17.09.2022
Huxley-Parlour is pleased to present New Mythologies II, a group show of eleven artists working across painting, drawing, and mixed-media. The works in the exhibition all present responses to a fraught, contemporary climate: one which places increasing weight in the values of logic, capital, and an exponentially abstracted metaverse. Drawing on medieval, classical, magical realist and in places entirely abstract sources – New Mythologies II traces a return to dream time and logic through recourse to symbolism, allegory, and contemporary detail.
Includes: Jeanine Brito, Charlotte Edey, Molly Greene, Mary Herbert, Grace Lee, Natalia González Martín, Grace Mattingly, Tristan Pigott, Alicia Reyes McNamara, Jakob Rowlinson, Salomé Wu
Both Jakob Rowlinson and Charlotte Edey use mythology as a vehicle to explore the political and social landscapes of today. In Rowlinson’s pieces, he juxtaposes medieval motifs – heraldry, coats of arms, and fabulae – with BDSM aesthetics to explore gender, sexuality, and masculinity. In a muted palette with soft, surreal composition, Edey’s work turns on science fiction and magical realist tropes to create surreal worlds that explore forces that act on the body politic: race, class, and gender.
Other paintings draw imaginative capital from ancient texts: Tristan Pigott’s Margaret of Antioch, 2019, interprets the tale of Saint Margaret of Antioch being eaten alive by the devil, disguised as a dragon. Here, the juxtaposition of hyperrealism and ancient scripture creates a surreal, comic, composition. Others draw energy from religion – Natalia González Martín’s diptych, Los Enamorados, Resolución En Dos Partes 2022, borrows iconography from the 15th century Ghent Altarpiece by Jan van Eyck. By enlarging the legs of Adam and Eve and utilising the addition of gem-like, lurid detail, González Martín invites tension between sacred and profane motifs.
Mary Herbert’s work is diaristic – drawing from dream diaries, memory, and historical source imagery, her painting creates hazy, richly imaginative and symbolic dreamscapes. Grace Lee’s work draws from a contemporary image economy (social media, infographics, 00s digital imaging, archival google images) to create darkly comical, disquieting paintings which play the inane and the bizarre against one another.
Other works explore the utopian qualities of abstraction. In Molly Greene and Salomé Wu’s work, biomorphic forms twist and turn to create surreal landscapes. Where Greene draws on scientific taxonomies, Wu takes influence from her own speculative fiction to dictate the compositions of her pieces.
Similarly, the two pieces contributed by Grace Mattingly develop her exploration of the power of a saturated palette to create abstract categories of play and sensuality. Replete with yellows, oranges, greens, and pinks, and intermingling bodies and landscape, her work thematises joy. Alicia Reyes McNamara imaginatively extends the figure to create paintings that explore gender and ritual through narratively charged motifs that centre particularly around extremities and orifices.
Melding archetype and allegory to reinterpret, and sometimes subvert, our shared mythologies, the dreamscapes in New Mythologies II refute utopia in favour of their own, unique, internal logic. In places narrative, in others purely tableau, they incorporate timely, contemporary detail, while nodding to an old, enduring, dark fascination with fairytale. New Mythologies II is an enquiry into image making and meaning today.