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The presentation follows Mendez’s ongoing investigation of tension between ideas of visibility and absence, fiction and truth, and the way our vision of self is impacted by historic and geographical constructs. The works on view, including sculpture and photography, showcase the artist’s use of unorthodox media (like organic matter, industrial material, and found objects) and unusual methods, like an in-depth manual transfer process that transforms existing photographs.
Mendez uses his practice to explore his Mexican-Columbian heritage like ritual and cultural memory. Highlights in the exhibition include the artist’s intriguingly ambiguous sculptural works like the tree limb growing from a rusted metal fence, American Pictures; the 2015 Domingo featuring feathers and plant matter, and other “living” formations that require replenishment of elements like water or flower petals.
Also on view are photographic works loaded with deeply thoughtful narratives surrounding the histories of original images from which they’re based, like let X stand, if it can for the one’s unfound (After Proceso Pentágono) and If they are not fears, they’re contritions. If they are not doubts, inabilities (After Melitón Rodríguez), based on Melitón Rodríguez’s 1933 photo.
“Let us gather in a flourishing way” is on view at ICA LA through January 10, 2021.