In 2015, the Gregorio Escalante Gallery in Los Angeles hosted a collection of paintings that give a Renaissance grandeur to the action figures and toys many of us grew up with. The show, called “Original Myth,” collected the epic canvases of Robert X. Burden, an artist who has spent years creating meticulously-composed paintings that imagine, for instance, the Star Wars figures by Kenner and Hasbro as Michelangelo might have rendered them on the Sistine Chapel ceiling.
These are some seriously huge paintings. “20th Century Space Opera,” the Star Wars extravaganza that gives even Dengar and Bossk due props, measures 15 feet wide and 8 feet tall. “The Holy Batman,” which depicts nearly 75 Batman figurines, measures 12′ x 7′.
Here’s how the show was described on the Gregorio Escalante site:
Original Myth is a reinvention of contemporary culture produced in a postwar era. Mass produced, packaged, and sold in bulk, Burden asks us to question whether or not originality is still a concept that we can grapple with and utilize in our present day cultural landscape. … His technique harkens back to the techniques of master painters, utilizing intricate time-consuming details, chiaroscuro, and countless hours invested into painting on a large scale.