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What You Need to Know: How does myth exist in our world today? What stories do we tell ourselves to make sense of the world around us? In “New Mythologies II,” a group show of 11 artists at London’s Huxley-Parlour, responds to a society in which capital and technology are prized above human connection and spirituality, with paintings, drawing, and mixed-media works that present a counterpoint that ripples with symbolism, allegory, and dreams. The exhibition features the work of Jeanine Brito, Charlotte Edey, Molly Greene, Mary Herbert, Grace Lee, Natalia González Martín, Grace Mattingly, Tristan Pigott, Alicia Reyes McNamara, Jakob Rowlinson, and Salomé Wu.
Why We Like It: This exhibition follows up on the gallery’s 2019 exhibition “New Mythologies,” which showcased the work of seven contemporary artists exploring the narrative potential of figurative work that incorporates elements of abstraction. The current exhibition embraces the magical, even talismanic qualities of art with more direct socio-political implications. British artist Jakob Rowlinson, for instance, juxtaposes medieval motifs, such as heraldry and coats of arms with BDSM aesthetics as explorations of gender, sexuality, and masculinity. Other artists tap into religious history and narratives. Tristan Pigott’s Margaret of Antioch (2019) portrays the tale of Saint Margaret of Antioch being eaten alive by the devil, disguised as a dragon, with an almost comic interpretation, while Natalia González Martín’s diptych Los enamorados, Resolución en dos partes (2022) draws from Jan van Eyck’s 15th-century Ghent Altarpiece, but the oversized legs of Adam and Eve are a lurid detail that hints at the profane. Biomorphism and plant life are explored by Molly Greene and Salomé Wu, tapping into questions of climate change, post-human existence, and biological transformation.
According to the Gallery: “Melding archetype and allegory to reinterpret, and sometimes subvert, our shared mythologies, the dreamscapes in ‘New Mythologies II’ refute utopia in favor 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 fairy tale. ‘New Mythologies II’ is an inquiry into image making and meaning today.”
See images from “New Mythologies II” below.