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Paul Hunter Speagle – MYTHOLOGYANITYISM

Exhibition details

Start:
4 December, 2021
End:
2 January, 2022
Event Category:
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JPS Gallery is pleased to present  MYTHOLOGYANITYISM, a solo exhibition of Paul Hunter Speagle, on view at the gallery’s Hong Kong location in LANDMARK ATRIUM. This exhibition is the first solo show of Speagle in the city. It marks his international debut, showcasing a series of new paintings tracing all the life experiences that shape his artistic journey. This series documents Speagle’s challenges, his exploration of himself and where he is standing with his beliefs, as a new parent and as an artist in our complex modern world.

Born and raised in the South of the United States, Speagle grew up under the preaching and beliefs of Christianity, which he attributed to his pursuit in art. In the presented series of paintings, Speagle re-examines his relationship with religion and his beliefs. By referencing the stories and characters from The Bible, motifs found in religious paintings and architecture, as well as Greek mythological stories and personal experiences, he created a symbol filled world that he calls MYTHOLOGYANITYISM.

Yuval Nohal Harari in his book Sapiens says: “With time some followers of polytheist gods became so fond of their particular patron that they drifted away from the basic polytheist insight. They began to believe that their god was the only god and that He was in fact the supreme power of the universe. […] Thus were born monotheist religions, whose followers beseech the supreme power of the universe to help them recover from illness, win a lottery and gain victory in war.” 1

Speagle does not aim to create a new religion or belief system. His practice simply takes what’s familiar and adds what comes from within to animate his paintings, to help us relate.

In the monumental painting, That’s All I Can Stand and I Can’t Stands No More (2021), Speagle retells the story of Samson’s riddle and depicts the scene of him slaying the lion. Taking the vengeance of Samson as an inspiration, Speagle contemplates the story through the lens of a contemporary pacifist by dwelling on the issues of good and evil, rights and wrongs. Using his significant style with vivid and dynamic depiction of the scene coupled with a hugely dense composition Speagle opens up his soul, his world full of symbols and mysticism. Featured is one of his reoccurring symbols, the snake, slithering around the painting. This can be viewed as the artist’s attempt to conquer his fear of snakes as well as him trying to remind us that what we see in his paintings is initiated through our own reality. The scene takes place in a church adorned with stained glass. The same stained glass pattern is also incorporated into the curation of the exhibition, creating a complete and immersive viewing experience and highlighting the fact that what is heavenly is also interwind with mundane.

Charged with symbolic motifs and figures, MYTHOLOGYANITYISM addresses the questions of fate, life, death, love, society and religion. His suggestive style and ideas allow his works to have many interpretations, inviting the spectators to ponder and connect despite of what they believe.

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