Animals, Idols and Us
October 29 to December 5, 2020
Tibor de Nagy is pleased to present Shari Mendelson - Animals, Idols and Us. The exhibition, originally scheduled for March, will be the artist’s first at the gallery
Animals, Idols and Us will be comprised of 25 sculptures all made in the last two years. Mendelson creates these works out of ordinary plastic beverage bottles which she collects in and around her Brooklyn studio. Using the unique aspects of each brand’s color, shape and patterning, she recycles this all-too-common product into her sculptural objects. This body of work draws on ancient history, and her many visits to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. With her process and subject matter, the artist bridges civilizations and creates a composite of the present and the remote past. These works come out of her close observations of ancient glass, terra cotta vessels, antique human and animal forms from Roman, Cypriot, Egyptian, Chinese and Islamic traditions. She is especially interested in how everyday life is presented, how the utilitarian and the spiritual aspects interact - how we glimpse everyday life from burial objects placed in tombs and how a deity, animal and vessel can coexist in the same object.
Mendelson has long been an artist focused on materials. In her decades as a practicing artist, she has worked with industrial plastic, metal and jewelry. In this current body of work hot glue, acrylic polymers, resin and mica powders are used to bind the found plastic and alter the surface texture and color. The contemporary nature of her medium is never entirely hidden and an expiration date or other markers of modern life can make an appearance. The artist describes her approach as folllows: I make the pieces starting with a drawing or a photograph of an ancient work but as I'm making them, things change and they go off in a direction of their own. I look to the originals for guidance but mainly I'm trying to figure out how to build an interesting form and surface using found convex and concave plastic bits.
Shari Mendelson (b. 1961) is based in Brooklyn and Upstate New York. Her work has been shown nationally and internationally including the recent solo exhibition Glasslike at Urban Glass in Brooklyn, curated by Elizabeth Essner, and Shari Mendelson: Amphorae and Apparitions at the Hunterdon Art Museum. She is currently in the group exhibition Re-materialize at the Arthur Ross Gallery, University of Pennsylvania, curated by Heather Gibson Moqtaderi. The artist has received four New York Foundation for the Arts fellowships, and is a 2017 Guggenheim Fellowship recipient. Mendelson received her MFA from SUNY New Paltz in 1986 and is a lecturer at Parsons School of Design in Manhattan.