Harold Mendez: Let us gather in a flourishing way
Let us gather in a flourishing way is a 10-year survey of Los Angeles-based artist Harold Mendez (b. 1977, Chicago). 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 is American of Mexican-Colombian descent, and has traveled widely throughout his career – working in South America, Cuba, and Africa, among other localities. 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 The artist both traces and erases found imagery with specific cultural or art historical references to create otherworldly new images.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 original artist, uncovering a unique perspective on the transnational experience, the process of ritual, and the power of cultural memory.
Harold Mendez (b. 1977, Chicago) has taken part in numerous exhibitions such as Being: New Photography (2018) at the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the 2017 Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. His works are included in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Minneapolis Institute of Art; the DePaul Art Museum, Chicago; and the Colección Diéresis, Guadalajara, Mexico. Mendez is currently based in Los Angeles.
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 made possible thanks to the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, Harpo Foundation, Michael Asher Foundation, Pasadena Art Alliance, Michael Silver, and Friends of Harold Mendez: Christine Meleo Bernstein and Armyan Bernstein; Claire Morton; and Lance Renner. Additional support is provided by the Angeles Art Fund and Wilhelm Family Foundation. ICA LA is supported by Curator’s Council, Fieldwork, and 1717 Collective. The exhibition is coordinated at the ICA at VCU by Executive Director Dominic Asmall Willsdon.