“My paintings contain a double negative: the surface works to undo itself and representation is obscured to reveal a subject that is not an image of the past, but an impression directly inscribed in it.”
– Beaux Mendes
Firmly rooted in materials and direct observation, Beaux Mendes’ paintings are also enigmatically animated with overlaid layers of abstraction and latent apparitional figures. Their work treats painting as a transitory medium, while consistently revealing the physical qualities of the used support. Involving rituals of passage and pilgrimage, their practice invites estrangement and altered states of experience resulting from repeated trips to sites for painting, often remote and obscure. These sites conjure a relay of sensory information and embedded imagery that phase between environment and artist, generating a range of phenomena recorded by way of an artwork as conduit. As such, appearances arrive as much as they withdraw, opening spaces of irresolution. The visual effect of their work is to manifest a unique and reflexive threshold of in-betweenness, a shifting sense of positionality always bordering on transgression. Situated within the different configurations proposed by Mendes’s paintings lies the crux of their poetics: an image is a kind of transference, its nature is never wholly perceptible, let alone conceivable—apprehension is a balancing act on changing, uncertain ground.
Beaux Mendes (b. 1987, New York) lives and works in Los Angeles. They received an MFA from University of California, Los Angeles as well as from Bard Milton Avery Graduate School of Arts. In 2021, their first one-person exhibition, Willow Staging Area, was held at STARS, Los Angeles. En Plein Error, an eponymous exhibition of a collaborative drawing group’s work, was staged at ltd los angeles in 2019. Mendes’ work has been included in group shows at STARS, Real Pain Fine Arts, The Gallery at Michael’s, all in Los Angeles, Palazzo Tamborino Cezzi, Lecce, Italy, Meredith Rosen Gallery and Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects, New York, among others. Their first solo exhibition at Miguel Abreu Gallery, Capitol Reef, was on view earlier this year.