Paintings and photographs from the “Medical Trials of the Saints” series by MANDEM, the artist conglomerate fronted by FSU Art MFA ’15 Maize Arendsee, were featured at the Gallery at Lakeland in Kirkland, Ohio as part of the “from WOMAN XII” exhibit. Curated by Mary Urbas, this annual exhibit began as a local event inspired by the Guerrilla Girls’ manifesto and has now grown to be a nationally-recognized exhibit of works by women and non-binary artists, hosted in the largest exhibition space in the Tri-County area.
“Throughout history, women artists have not been as well promoted and/or represented as their male counterparts,” Urbas writes of the exhibit.
In a review of the exhibit published by CAN Journal, Lyz Bly wrote: “If we learned anything about women and gender-queer folks over the last two years and two months, it is that we are resilient, powerful survivor-warriors. What seems clear both locally and globally for women in living in the Orange Era, is what artist Barbra Kruger plainly stated 30 years ago in her stark photo text piece: ‘Your body is a battleground.’ While there are themes-aplenty in ‘From Woman XII’ curated by Mary Urbas… the body is one that unifies much of the work in the exhibition. There are diverse approaches to the curatorial ethos of the exhibition: artists engender the body as both concrete and fluid, a space for oppression and control, as well as one that transcends politics and capitalism and connects to history, mythology, and earth energy.”
“The Little Prince,” one of the photographic works by MANDEM, was featured on the exhibit poster and widely published in regional arts journals, newspapers, and talk shows. This piece was selected by the curator to represent the exhibit not only because of its aesthetic qualities, but also because of the art historical significance behind the techniques MANDEM used to create it.
“The two paintings showing here appear relatively straightforward in swearing allegiance to familiar classical painting techniques. In contrast, the two photographs are designed to be in visual dialog with the photo collage and watercolor techniques developed and shared by Victorian women (half a century before male surrealists and Dada artists appropriated collage and cut-up for their own uses, and a hundred years before 20th century photographers such as Uelsmann adapted the method for darkroom printing). Our photographs are created in a digital darkroom, remixing aesthetic elements of this 19th century women’s craft with contemporary visual and cultural concerns,” MANDEM explains in their artist statement from the show.
A video walk-through of the exhibit, with commentary by curator Mary Urbas, is available online via The Gallery at Lakeland‘s YouTube Channel here
About the Artist:
MANDEM is a long-term studio resident at ARTFUL Cleveland. Their internationally-exhibited art series “Hypermobility” has received numerous accolades, including three consecutive grants from the Ohio Arts Council. With an academic background in mythology, interdisciplinary humanities, art history, and studio art, Maize currently teaches photography and art history at Southern New Hampshire University. Check out their Facebook and Tumblr pages