Pepe Mar
Parco dei Mostri (Park of the Monsters)

Pepe Mar
Parco dei Mostri (Park of the Monsters)


Pepe Mar, The Cabinet of Dr. Mar (detail), 2014. Mixed media, 72 x 72 x 7 inches. Courtesy the artist, David Castillo Gallery, and DiverseWorks. Photo: Lynn Lane.
October 1, 2014

September 6–October 25, 2014

4102 Fannin Street, #200
Houston, TX  77004
Hours: Wednesday–Saturday noon–6pm

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. 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.

Parco dei Mostri, commissioned by DiverseWorks, is Mar’s first large-scale three-dimensional installation and combines collage, sculpture, photography, and sound. The exhibition’s title refers to the secluded sixteenth-century sculpture garden, Parco dei Mostri (Park of the Monsters), located in Bomarzo, Italy. A labyrinthine Mannerist complex strewn with huge monstrous stone creatures, the park has inspired writers and artists alike for more than 400 years. Intended to shock and surprise, its grotesque figures peer through lush vegetation along a disjointed route that is in marked contrast to the balanced, symmetrical gardens of the Renaissance. Mar’s Parco dei Mostri employs similar strategies for inciting discovery, compelling visitors to meander around the intersecting structure and experience one “room” at a time—akin to visiting the passages and grottos of the actual park.

Personal collections—including fashion, art, and trinkets—and issues related to identity, mass media influence, and excess consumption form the core of Mar’s investigation in this new body of work. Mixing fantasy and reality, with Parco dei Mostri Mar has assembled a visual puzzle wherein each component generates a remixed version of the whole. Mar, the multicultural immigrant, the ethnographer-archivist, the collector, and the party monster all inhabit an enchanted space where the beautiful and the monstrous symphonically coexist.

As part of his residency at DiverseWorks, Mar collaborated with participants in the after-school arts programs at Houston’s Multicultural Education and Counseling through the Arts (MECA). Together they conceived a series of live events, to be produced and performed by the students, which fuse Mexican folk traditions with contemporary urban life in an exploration of personal narrative and collective immigrant identity.

Performance dates
Saturday, October 11, 2pm at DiverseWorks
Wednesday, October 15, 6pm at MECA (1900 Kane Street, Houston, TX 77007)

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, California, and Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami.

About DiverseWorks
DiverseWorks is a non-profit art center in Houston, Texas dedicated to commissioning and presenting new visual, performing, and literary art. DiverseWorks values the artistic process and encourages artists to test new ideas in the public arena. By investigating the social, cultural, and artistic issues of our time, DiverseWorks builds, educates, and sustains audiences for contemporary art.

Leslie and Brad Bucher, Jereann and Holland Chaney, Karl Adolf and Hendrina Krawinkel

This project is made possible in part through grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Texas Commission on the Arts, and the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance. 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. More information at

DiverseWorks Season Sponsors:  The Brown Foundation, Inc., The Cullen Trust for the Performing Arts, and The Houston Endowment

RSVP for Pepe MarParco dei Mostri (Park of the Monsters)
October 1, 2014

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