Miami-based artist Pepe Mar creates brightly colored and fantastical sculptures that capture his flamboyant spirit and reflect an eclectic fusion of cultures. Mar, who was born in Mexico and raised in border towns, draws on disparate spheres of influence by combining references to ethnographic objects with crafting, fashion, and nightclub life in his handcrafted works. Frequently taking the form of elaborate shadow boxes or wunderkabinetts, Mar’s works display handmade figurines and small sculptures cobbled together from thrift store finds, craft materials, and glossy fashion magazine pages. These constellations of hybrid creatures—parts icon, symbol, fantasy, and truth—inhabit a magical space where multiple cultures harmoniously coexist, and are an apt metaphor for the artist himself.
For Mar’s project at DiverseWorks, his first major institutional commission in the United States, he will create a large-scale, immersive installation that brings his sculptures to life. Personal collections—including art and fashion—and issues related to identity, mass media influence, excess consumption, and simulation form the core of his investigation in this new body of work, which was initially inspired by research on Houston’s Menil Collection and arts doyenne Dominique de Menil. As part of his residency, Mar is collaborating with participants in the after-school programs at Multicultural Education and Counseling through the Arts (MECA). Together they will conceive, produce, and perform a series of live events that fuse Mexican folk traditions with contemporary urban life in an exploration of personal narrative and collective immigrant identity.
About Pepe Mar
Pepe Mar was born in Reynosa, Mexico and received his BFA from the California College of the Arts, San Francisco and his MFA from Florida International University, Miami. He has attended numerous residency programs including the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and the Bronx Museum International Residency Program. Mar’s work has been included in numerous gallery and museum shows, with solo exhibitions at Locust Projects and White Flag Projects, among others. His work is in the collections of the Pérez Art Museum Miami, Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, CA, and Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami.
Exhibition Sponsors: Leslie and Brad Bucher, Jereann and Holland Chaney, Karl Adolf and Hendrina Krawinkel
Pepe Mar: Parco dei Mostri is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance, the Texas Commission on the Arts, and DiverseWorks Season Sponsors: The Brown Foundation, Inc., The Cullen Trust for the Performing Arts, and The Houston Endowment.
DiverseWorks is a VAN Partner of the Visual Arts Network (VAN). This project is made possible in part through support from the Visual Artists Network Exhibition Residency, which is a program of the National Performance Network. Major contributors are the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Joan Mitchell Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Nathan Cummings Foundation.