Anna Mendes

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What is my work about?

My work synthesizes the visual and literary to create a “storyboard” account of narrative. I arrange paintings into phrases and phrases into chapters. Alternating rhythm approximates cinematic movement: paintings read as pauses or carry weight, and narrative extends through repetition. Here are the dug up bones of a story. What is coaxed into being is carried in the unsaid and unrepresented. Amorphous and circular structures take shape through the reconfiguration of archetypes and material experimentation. My work orbits around themes of gender nomadism, placelessness, light, and the endurance of desire.

 

Artist Statement

My paintings tell a story of time passing, organized around the figure of time standing still.

I have always been interested in the intersection of language and painting, the way one medium informs the other and can extend the boundaries between the written and the visual. I arrange paintings into phrases and phrases into elegies. Rhythm alternates to approximate a cinematic movement: paintings read as pauses or carry weight, and narrative extends through repetition.

The “jump cut” is the heart of the cinematic in my work – elliptical configurations coax the unrepresented into being or conjure something lost.

The images I have included come from Hometown, an ongoing eidetic novel composed of paintings. 27 small panels comprise the novel’s opening chapter, entitled “The Vertical Search of Mr. Green.” I work small because I want to move lightly through the world.

In a dim room, the glowing wall of paintings is reminiscent of a movie screen (see image 20). Mr. Green, a solitary archetype—a cowboy or wizard—moves through a dystopian American landscape. He is destabilized, rendered frail. A dog and horse populate the scene like signposts. Are these representations of living creatures, or is that a dog-shaped lawn statue, a horse-shaped hitching post?

“The Vertical Search” refers to Walker Percy’s The Moviegoer, in which the novel’s protagonist, Binx Bolling, sets out to collect the material clues across the surface of his experience. These are not the artifacts of a greater mystery; they are clues simply, to be preserved as such. Drawn to an amorphous and circular narrative structure, I collect the clues of Mr. Green’s passage. Themes of gender nomadism, time, placelessness, and the desire for connection drive his search through this suspended, even melancholic, atmosphere.

A wizard, a cowboy, a dog, a horse, a house, a bird, the sea, an androgynous child. These become psychic variables in a visual lexicon; reduced symbolism lends emotional gravitas.

I collect materials and pick up things from the street. Material is obscured through unlikely application: resin, wax, cement, ephemera, a range of mediums. Each painting takes shape through a particular aggregation of ingredients. Over time, rough and sandy surfaces strain articulation.

I often begin outside in plein air and there is a performative element to this process, especially in the way I relate to my characters as avatars. As Mr. Green, I seek out significant places: it could be an unfamiliar overpass in Virginia or a beachside parking lot in the rain. In these moments, I approach the Romantic painter.

Somewhere, just out of sight is a vision of a lost home, a point of origin.

 

 

EDUCATION
2010
B.A. Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT. University Major: Painting and Intellectual History
High Honors Painting Thesis

2006
International School of Painting Drawing and Sculpture, Umbria, Italy

 

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS
2015
Adventures of Order, Treasure Town Gallery, Brooklyn, NY

2014
Library, Treasure Town Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
Meat Grinder, VCU, Richmond, VA

2013
Nasty Snack, Taaffe Lofts, Brooklyn, NY

2012
Men Apoca‘lips’!, Brooklyn Night Bazaar, Brooklyn, NY
NEITHER, home/made, Brooklyn, NY
Furniture Music, The Schoolhouse, Brooklyn, NY

2011
Gold, Howard Baden Studios, NYC
October Salon and Introductions Exhibition, Brooklyn Art Space, Brooklyn, NY
Concours Exhibition, Honorable Mention, Phyllis Harriman Gallery, NYC

2010
Wee Benefit Art Show, Fatato Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
Sighting, Senior Thesis Exhibition, Zilkha Gallery, Wesleyan University
Fling, Ecletic House, Middletown, CT

 

AWARDS, GRANTS & RESIDENCIES
2014
Mendes, Anna “Ann Gale: paintings and drawings,”, Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects, NYC
Summer Studio Residency Program, VCU, Richmond, VA

Resident Artist & Grant Recipient, The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery, Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland, Canada

2013

Resident Artist & VSC Grant Recipient, Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT
Resident Artist, SPORE Home-Stay, St Louis, MO

2012
Honorable Mention, Portrait Art Contest. Featured in Artist Portfolio Magazine

Resident Artist at Brooklyn Art Space, Brooklyn, NY

CURATORIAL PROJECTS
2014-present
Treasure Town, Brooklyn, NY www.treasuretown.nyc
I founded and collectively run Treasure Town Gallery with a group of other artists.
Exhibitions curated at Treasure Town: Adventures of Order

 

TEACHING
2011-  Present
Teaching Artist, PS 40 & The Neighborhood School, Wingspan Arts, NYC
Introduction to Painting, Comic Book Arts and Stop-Motion-Animation