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. 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.