Friday, February 24, 2012

An Archetypal Wheel for a Neo-Colonial Age

This past Thursday February 9 was the opening to my solo show Mcolonial Citizens at Petrus Gallery. Many visited the exhibition, reason for which I am grateful to all my friends, colleagues and art lovers that came by for the opening.   The level of professionalism of the gallery staff, the media coverage and public attention and response surpassed my expectations for which I am eternally thankful. At this exhibition I have a few paintings that brought up some questions that deserve answers concerning the meaning of some of these pieces. One of these was The Archetypal Neo-Colonial Wheel, a rotating piece that I created with oils on panel 28” x 28” and that I will briefly explain.

The Archetypal Neo-Colonial Wheel (2011-12)
Oil and Gold Leaf on Panel 28" x 28"

The idea started from a creative exploration departing from Tarot Imagery and particularly the imagery of the Mantegna Tarot. For this painting I was inspired on the card # 10 or Arcana Major 10 of the Tarot of Marseille which shows a wheel that is known as “the wheel of fortune”. The Tarot more than simply being a divination tool could be considered an encyclopedia of archetypes. The archetypes are universal energies that manifest themselves through art, religious iconography, mythology and in the end all aspects of human culture as well as in nature.  Astrology refers directly to these archetypes through the study of the planetary influences over humanity. There is a wheel in astrology also, known as the “Zodiac wheel” where all the twelve zodiac signs are distributed diametrically. The study of this material has been an inspiration for my work.

Arcana Major 10 from the Rider Waite Tarot

The Archetypal Neo-Colonial Wheel consists of four parts:

A central disk containing an image of the Virgin Mary and Jesus holding the Sun, the Moon and   the Earth.

   A second disk containing monochromatic images of twelve saints from the Catholic pantheon.

A third external disk containing images of the twelve neo-colonial characters represented 
in the Mcolonial Citizens series.

A support panel that depicts the four fixed zodiac signs at the corners and that also represents four aspects of our contemporary world.

Between the saints and the colonial citizens there are direct correspondences that are also connected to the archetypes discussed in the Tarot and Astrology. The following table describes briefly the selection and position of the characters on the Archetypal Neo-Colonial Wheel.  

Astrological Archetype
Christian Iconography
Mcolonial Citizen
Mars in Aries
Santiago Matamoros
Venus in Taurus
Saint Isidro Labrador
Body, food, Consumption
Mercury in Gemini
Santo Niño de Atocha
The Media
Transmitted Information
Moon in Cancer
Virgen de Regla
House wife
Maternity, Home
Sun in Leo
Virgen de las Mercedes
Creation, Light
Mercury in Virgo
Saint Lazarus
Service, Lessons
Venus in Libra
Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre
Pluto in Scorpio

Saint Francis
Jupiter in Sagitarius
Saint Cristopher
Inmigrant Worker
Work, Inmigration
Saturn in Capricorn
Saint Barbara
Uranus in Acuarius

Saint Pantaleón
Neptune in Piscis
Saint Peter

As an artist I feel that the creative act has the purpose of finding correlations and reinventing the myths and doctrines that we have inherited in order to make them relevant and meaningful to our current world and daily lives. In my research I have found many common denominators between politics, religion and mythology and this has led me to be interested in learning more about the underlying archetypes that are expressed in all of these aspects of our global culture.

The collection of paintings from the Mcolonial Citizens series can be seen at Petrus Gallery and will be on display there until February 29 2012. For more information on this work and the exhibition you can contact the gallery at 787-289-0505 e-mail:  Petrus gallery is located at Calle Hoare #726, Esquina Calle Las Palmas, Miramar, San Juan, Puerto Rico.