Valerie MendelsonPaintings from the Interior
March 6 - March 27, 2002
I first saw Valerie Mendelson’s work in 1997, reproduced in a catalogue that accompanied her exhibition at the Marsh Gallery, University of Richmond, a few years earlier. No reproduction, as I would learn upon seeing the works in person for the first time, could compare with the paintings in the flesh. Her adept realism, her sensibility towards color, and the serene tranquility of her spaces and still-life works immediately struck me. Her paintings of specific objects, both large and small, seem to emanate a vibrancy uncommon to still-life work.
When I was offered the opportunity to curate an exhibition for The Kingsborough Community College Art Gallery for Women’s History Month 2002, I knew I wanted to focus on Mendelson’s impressive and, in some cases, deeply personal and emotional works. In addition to being an accomplished painter, Mendelson is also an art historian. This duality of professional careers, artist and art historian, which are often at odds with each other, is not often encountered. Yet the two areas have worked for her in tandem.
For Mendelson the Art Historian, the role of archivist (of objects in her personal space) and recorder of images (here her own), has greatly facilitated her role as Mendelson the Artist. Similarly, her attention to details and skills at observation have made her a conscientious and diligent art historian. I once asked her which profession — artist or art historian — she would choose over the other; she said she was both an artist and an art historian equally, and in fact she is skillful and passionate about both. For more than twenty years, Mendelson has exhibited her work in galleries throughout the country in addition to teaching art history for various branches of the City University of New York.
We should take a moment to reflect on how difficult it was for women artists of the past to establish professional careers. For most of western history, women were prevented from obtaining an education in the arts, not to mention from obtaining many basic rights. Although the situation for women artists today is far from perfect, there have been many advances towards acceptance in the 20th and 21st centuries, which allow us to study and enjoy their works in more public forums than ever before. Kingsborough’s current exhibition celebrates these advances in women’s history and we are privileged to have Mendelson’s paintings on view for this exhibition.
Caterina Y. Pierre, M.Phil.curator
Bakery Box 10x12, Oil on linen Delacroix Chez Moi 39x38, Oil on linenDelacroix, Palette, Flowers 40x30, Oil on linenFlowers for Delacroix 25x19, Oil on linenTulips 26x36, Oil on linenDelacroix Bag 22x18, Oil on linenBlue Bakery Box 9x12, Oil on linenTwo Bakery Boxes 13x15, Oil on linenTin Box with Pencils 8x10, Oil on linenBlue Box with Crayons 8x12, Oil on linenWatercolor box 8x11.5, Oil on panelPastel Box 13x15, Oil on linenBox with Craypas 8x11, Oil on panelSilver Slide Box 8x10, Oil on linen.Slide Box 8x12, Oil on linenFile Drawer 13x15, Oil on linenPale Yellow Bag 12x10, Oil on linenWhite Paper Bag 8x8, Oil on linenBrown Paper Bag 8x8, Oil on linenYellow Bag 10x12, Oil on linenBlue Box with Ribbons 9x12, Oil on linenLens Box 8x8, Oil on linenGreen Box 8x8, Oil on linenAirplane Box 9x11, Oil on panelLandscape Box 9x11, Oil on panelBox with Red Paper 8x10, Oil on linenTaped Box 8x10, Oil on linenBox on Blue Paper 8x11, Oil on linenTissue in Bowl 8x10, Oil on linenTissue with Pink Wallpaper 9x11, Oil on linenTissue and Cup 10x13, Oil on linenTissue in Vase 8x8, Oil on linenGlass and Tissue 8x10, Oil on linenCup 11x7, Oil on panelLilacs 9x12, Oil on linenMaine flowers 12x10, Oil on linenBlue Hydrangea 11x8, Oil on linenPink flower 11x8, Oil on panelIris 8x8, Oil on linenBatchelors Buttons 8x10, Oil on linenHydrangea 8x11, Oil on panelBlue Wildflowers 12x8, Oil on panelRed Flower 8x8, Oil on linenRoses 8x8, Oil on linenChrysanthemum 11x7, Oil on panelTomatoes 9x12, Oil on linenPears 9x12, Oil on linenGreen Pears 8x9, Oil on linenLemons 8x9, Oil on linenGourd 8x8, Oil on linenJean-Francois, oil on paper, 12x16Fréderique, oil on linen, 12x12
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