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Burb's Eye View: Curator gathers artists to pay homage to Del Toro

July 24, 2013|By Bryan Mahoney
  • The "Into the Labyrinth & Mind of Guillermo Del Toro" exhibit at Hyaena Gallery, curated by Joseph Muoz of Burbank, mixes pop and fine art to reflect Del Toro's influence on many Latin American artists. That includes Muoz himself, whose pieces reflecting "Cronos," "The Devil's Backbone" and "Pan's Labyrinth" are also on display.
The "Into the Labyrinth & Mind of Guillermo… (Courtesy of Joseph…)

While Guillermo Del Toro's "Pacific Rim" wreaks havoc across Burbank's movie screens, a few blocks away his more subdued works are being reimagined in a macabre mash-up of pop and fine art.

At Hyaena Gallery this month an art show ventures "Into the Labyrinth & Mind of Guillermo Del Toro," a celebration of Del Toro's visual style and an homage to the filmmaker who is inspiring Latin American artists to inject their own flair into American pop art.

This journey is both subtle and assaulting — at times a soft dreamscape in the works of Anita Mejia and Pakoto, or an impulsively jarring surge of color from Carlos Lerma. While Del Toro's influence is felt throughout, it's curator Joseph Muñoz of Burbank who takes on the uneasy task of tour guide through a Pandora's box of art-from-art.

"It's our duty as Latin American artists to support another artist who is opening doors for us," said Muñoz, a native of Ecuador who goes by the name Chogrin in his art.

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Muñoz is also opening doors for his contemporaries, organizing gallery shows throughout Burbank and L.A. that highlight up-and-comers.

Located at Hyaena Gallery on Olive Avenue, the "labyrinth" features 10 artists from around the world, though most are from Latin America. Each artist had eight weeks to create new pieces that reflected the three Spanish-language films directed by Del Toro: "Cronos," "The Devil's Backbone" and "Pan's Labyrinth."

The movies' iconic images of horned satyrs and ghosts are at home with the classic movie monsters and preternatural oddities of Hyaena Gallery.

"The idea that these (movies) were not as well-known fit in nicely with what I like," said Hyaena Gallery owner Bill Shafer. "I don't pick shows for how well they'll do, I just do what I like."

With Del Toro as a frequent patron of the gallery, Shafer said he didn't want the director to feel like his work was being exploited. The honesty in the work is what sold Shafer — this is fan art of the highest possible degree, done in the best possible way.

While in town for the opening of "Pacific Rim" recently, Del Toro was able to see the work of "Into the Labyrinth." Muñoz met him at a "Pacific Rim" screening after.

"Guillermo personally telling he was moved by the art show is a huge highlight as a fan of his, but as an artist that wants to work with him as well," Muñoz said. "They are two different levels of awesomeness."

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