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|Journey Into Whatever: Bert Green Fine Art opens exhibition of works by Gabriel Mejia|
Gabriel Mejia, No Matter Where You Go, There You Are, Oil on Panel, 18 x 24", 2013. Photo: Courtesy of Bert Green Fine Art.
CHICAGO, IL.- Gabriel Mejia has been involved in a multi-year project of sourcing subjects for his paintings through social media sites such as Facebook; friending others with the same name as himself and incorporating their identities into his work using himself as a model. With this most recent series of paintings, he has synthesized the various identities of others into a single subject, who is masked and engaged in mundane daily actiivities. These works serve to shatter the artifice and illusion of manufactured identity, and expose the fundamentally banal nature of daily existence. The hero commutes, eats breakfast, does his laundry. He is everyman.
This body of work began as an exploration of constructed identity witnessed through various filters of self-promotion. Previously, I had friended over 80 other individuals with the name Gabriel Mejia on Facebook. I painstakingly recreated their profile pics using myself as a stand-in for another Gabriel Mejia. This exercise was intended to complicate internal and external notions of identity while creating a space where difference is articulated.
I have combined elements of each of these individuals into my current body of work, Journey Into Whatever. The people who inspired this project perform identities through social media that make me curious and envious of their portrayed social and recreational activities, cultural engagement, family life, and romantic life. However, in truth, their lives are just as mundane and uneventful as our own. The paintings in Journey Into Whatever feature a central deluded misfit who sees himself as masked protagonist whose banal routine mirrors my own, and eagerly awaits for his moment to prove himself.
Gabriel Mejia is a Chicago-based artist who discovered artmaking through his fascination with the visual storytelling ability of comic books and graphic novels at a young age. After obtaining his undergraduate degree from Northern Illinois University, he enjoyed a 10 year career as a high school art teacher and exhibiting artist in the Los Angeles and Chicago areas. In 2009, he accepted a fellowship to the University of Wisconsin-Madison and received his MFA in 2012. Through his multi-media art practice, Gabriel continues to explore internal and external notions of self through comparative and performative analysis.
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