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Valerie Mendelson
Paintings 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.

Exhibition Checklist

Bakery Box 10x12, Oil on linen
Delacroix Chez Moi 39x38, Oil on linen
Delacroix, Palette, Flowers 40x30, Oil on linen
Flowers for Delacroix 25x19, Oil on linen
Tulips 26x36, Oil on linen
Delacroix Bag 22x18, Oil on linen
Blue Bakery Box 9x12, Oil on linen
Two Bakery Boxes 13x15, Oil on linen
Tin Box with Pencils 8x10, Oil on linen
Blue Box with Crayons 8x12, Oil on linen
Watercolor box 8x11.5, Oil on panel
Pastel Box 13x15, Oil on linen
Box with Craypas 8x11, Oil on panel
Silver Slide Box 8x10, Oil on linen.
Slide Box 8x12, Oil on linen
File Drawer 13x15, Oil on linen
Pale Yellow Bag 12x10, Oil on linen
White Paper Bag 8x8, Oil on linen
Brown Paper Bag 8x8, Oil on linen
Yellow Bag 10x12, Oil on linen
Blue Box with Ribbons 9x12, Oil on linen
Lens Box 8x8, Oil on linen
Green Box 8x8, Oil on linen
Airplane Box 9x11, Oil on panel
Landscape Box 9x11, Oil on panel
Box with Red Paper 8x10, Oil on linen
Taped Box 8x10, Oil on linen
Box on Blue Paper 8x11, Oil on linen
Tissue in Bowl 8x10, Oil on linen
Tissue with Pink Wallpaper 9x11, Oil on linen
Tissue and Cup 10x13, Oil on linen
Tissue in Vase 8x8, Oil on linen
Glass and Tissue 8x10, Oil on linen
Cup 11x7, Oil on panel
Lilacs 9x12, Oil on linen
Maine flowers 12x10, Oil on linen
Blue Hydrangea 11x8, Oil on linen
Pink flower 11x8, Oil on panel
Iris 8x8, Oil on linen
Batchelors Buttons 8x10, Oil on linen
Hydrangea 8x11, Oil on panel
Blue Wildflowers 12x8, Oil on panel
Red Flower 8x8, Oil on linen
Roses 8x8, Oil on linen
Chrysanthemum 11x7, Oil on panel
Tomatoes 9x12, Oil on linen
Pears 9x12, Oil on linen
Green Pears 8x9, Oil on linen
Lemons 8x9, Oil on linen
Gourd 8x8, Oil on linen
Jean-Francois, oil on paper, 12x16
Fréderique, oil on linen, 12x12

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