ICONS, MYTHS & POEMS
“Icons, Myths and Poems” is a solo exhibit of works by famed Chicago artist, James McNeill Mesplé . This exhibition of thirty-three paintings showcases work in a variety of forms, including oils, aqueous, and mixed media. Although the materials are diverse, the themes running through this body of work are ones that Mesplé has been incorporating into his figurative paintings for thirty years. Mesplé continues to find inspiration in mythological and religious icons, which he then recreates with clever ties to the modern day. Included in the exhibition are poems by Elise Paschen and Effie Mihopoulos.
Mesplé’s introduction to mythical beings and nature tales began with stories told to him by his Osage grandfather. The spark of this culture’s oral tradition and the context of the battle between good and evil discover mythology and classic tales of the “battle of the cosmos”. Of particular interest to him is how an iconic figure is instantly recognized and correlated to ideas, stories or imagery. He uses this to visually rewrite mythology, and bring modernity to stories of old. Lincoln exists in the same realm as Apollo; the Chicago skyline stands tall with Greek columns and is defined by Chicago’s own myth, the Spire.
Each of the paintings in “Icons, Myths and Poems” offers classical histories with a modern interpretation. There are elements that help guide the story, but enough subtleties that the viewer can imagine his or her own story within the stage that Mesplé sets. The interrelationship between diverse art forms is illustrated by the two poems highlighted in the exhibit. Effie Mihoupoulos penned “Harmony” after viewing Mesplé’s painting “Hera Changing Channels”, and the poetry of Elise Paschen inspired “Dune Music”, a painting that designed to embody her collection of works in the book “Bestiary”. Both Paschen and Mesplé will be present in the gallery for an artist talk given the 9th of February, 2013 from 2 – 4pm.
The exhibit runs from January 18 thru March 10, 2013. An opening reception with the artist is scheduled for the evening of Friday, January 18th from 6-9pm. Reception and exhibit are free to the public.