Jan. 26, 2021
ICA at VCU to open ‘Harold Mendez: Let us gather in a flourishing way’ on Feb. 26
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The Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University will present “Harold Mendez: Let us gather in a flourishing way” Feb. 26 through June 27.
The exhibition is a journey through 10 years of Los Angeles-based artist Harold Mendez’s work. Comprising a selection of nearly 20 works in sculpture, printmaking and photography, Mendez invites us to explore the tension between fiction and truth, visibility and absence, and how history and geography shape our sense of self and our relationship to the world.
Mendez, who was born in Chicago, is of Mexican-Colombian descent. He has traveled widely throughout his career, including working in South America, Cuba and Africa. His work draws on his upbringing, heritage and international experiences to explore the meaning of cultural visibility. The artist both traces and erases found imagery with specific cultural or art historical references to create otherworldly new images. He obscures original source images and through installation fills spaces with disembodied sound. Mendez uses laborious manual processes to manipulate what is seen in his work and, in turn, challenges audiences to look more deeply.
The exhibition borrows its title from a poem by Juan Felipe Herrera in which the writer illustrates ideas and experiences that range from the ordinary to the extraordinary. Similarly, Mendez’s seemingly everyday images simultaneously belie complexity, nuance and uncomfortable realities. “Let us gather in a flourishing way” pulls you into the thought-provoking journey of an artist uncovering a unique perspective on the transnational experience, the process of ritual and the power of cultural memory.
“Harold Mendez: Let us gather in a flourishing way” is organized by the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and curated by Jamillah James, senior curator. The exhibition is coordinated at the ICA at VCU by Executive Director Dominic Asmall Willsdon.
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