Paul Hunter Speagle: MYTHOLOGYANITYISM. JPS Gallery. Hong Kong

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JPS Gallery is pleased to present MYTHOLOGYANITYISM, a solo exhibition of Paul Hunter Speagle, on view at the gallery’s Hong Kong location in LANDMARK ATRIUM. This exhibition is the first solo show of Speagle in the city. It marks his international debut, showcasing a series of new paintings tracing all the life experiences that shape his artistic journey. This series documents Speagle’s challenges, his exploration of himself and where he is standing with his beliefs, as a new parent and as an artist in our complex modern world.

Born and raised in the South of the United States, Speagle grew up under the preaching and beliefs of Christianity, which he attributed to his pursuit in art. In the presented series of paintings, Speagle re-examines his relationship with religion and his beliefs. By referencing the stories and characters from The Bible, motifs found in religious paintings and architecture, as well as Greek mythological stories and personal experiences, he created a symbol filled world that he calls MYTHOLOGYANITYISM.

Yuval Nohal Harari in his book Sapiens says: “With time some followers of polytheist gods became so fond of their particular patron that they drifted away from the basic polytheist insight. They began to believe that their god was the only god and that He was in fact the supreme power of the universe. […] Thus were born monotheist religions, whose followers beseech the supreme power of the universe to help them recover from illness, win a lottery and gain victory in war.”

Speagle does not aim to create a new religion or belief system. His practice simply takes what’s familiar and adds what comes from within to animate his paintings, to help us relate.

In the monumental painting, That’s All I Can Stand and I Can’t Stands No More (2021), Speagle retells the story of Samson’s riddle and depicts the scene of him slaying the lion. Taking the vengeance of Samson as an inspiration, Speagle contemplates the story through the lens of a contemporary pacifist by dwelling on the issues of good and evil, rights and wrongs. Using his significant style with vivid and dynamic depiction of the scene coupled with a hugely dense composition Speagle opens up his soul, his world full of symbols and mysticism. Featured is one of his reoccurring symbols, the snake, slithering around the painting. This can be viewed as the artist’s attempt to conquer his fear of snakes as well as him trying to remind us that what we see in his paintings is initiated through our own reality. The scene takes place in a church adorned with stained glass. The same stained glass pattern is also incorporated into the curation of the exhibition, creating a complete and immersive viewing experience and highlighting the fact that what is heavenly is also interwind with mundane.

Charged with symbolic motifs and figures, MYTHOLOGYANITYISM addresses the questions of fate, life, death, love, society and religion. His suggestive style and ideas allow his works to have many interpretations, inviting the spectators to ponder and connect despite of what they believe.

About Paul Hunter Speagle

Taking inspirations from life, love and religion, Paul Hunter Speagle creates expressive and colorful works that reflect his passions and beliefs. Working across paintings, sculptures as well as interactive and public installations, Speagle is a versatile artist who explores the world through his works.

Stemming from underground skateboarding, snowboarding, street and comics culture, Speagle’s canvases are filled with intense coloration that heightens a pervasion tension – evoking urban and rural environments of the US while experimenting with internal painterly dynamics around light, brushwork and compositions. Much of his works are inspired by symbolic motifs, Native American totems, outsider folk art, ancient mythologies as well as biblical narratives, commenting on the transcendent of time and the issue of human mortality with his unique and painterly style.

Born and raised in Hickory, North Carolina, Speagle started painting as a young teen and won the Paul Whitener Painting Contest at the age of 12. He gained a scholarship to study at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), where he earned a BFA in painting in 2005 and an MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York City in 2012. In 2018, he had his first museum solo exhibition Walking the Dog, at the Hickory Museum of Art. In recent years, Speagle started exploring the possibilities of public murals. He was commissioned to participate in many mural projects, including the large-scale historical mural, the Miracle of Hickory (2019) and a collaborative mural for Art Basel Miami Beach 2019. Speagle is the founder of the artists-led organization ATAC Gallery. The artist currently lives and works in Hickory, North Carolina.

About JPS Gallery

Established in 2014 in Hong Kong, JPS Gallery is an independent contemporary art gallery presenting works of emerging and established artists from around the world. The gallery is founded with a passionate spirit that dedicates to the new digital age and the exploration of the world of fine art and pop culture.

We aim to create an innovative environment for a new generation of artists and collectors, fostering a creative space for all. We focus on fun and playful works of the era that spans across different mediums and disciplines, showcasing a discerning selection of works that embody the aesthetics of today.

We are committed to supporting the culture and art scene both in Hong Kong and Japan, creating a vibrant local art community. The gallery regularly presents works of emerging artists in our gallery spaces in Hong Kong and Tokyo as well as international art fairs, giving them a platform to gain global exposure, supporting young artists to launch their careers. JPS has also been an active contributor to society and the local art scene by sponsoring various charity events and auctions.

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