Seven paintings from MANDEM’s “Hypermobility” painting series are exhibiting at Heights Arts Gallery (Cleveland Heights, Ohio) through August 21, 2017, as part of the I AM ARTFUL gallery show.
MANDEM is an artist conglomerate, one of whom lives with a genetic disorder (Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, or EDS) that causes failure of the body’s connective tissues. The Hypermobility series recenters that disability as a form of beauty via MANDEM’s signature approach to the classical realist tradition of figure painting. Using studio models with connective tissue disorders such as EDS, the series captures moments where joints hyperextend or dislocate and the body moves into broken-seeming, impossible configurations. MANDEM’s technique-oriented mixed-media/oil paintings explode the line between medical documentation and art. These images look to find a moment of (self) creation in the embrace of a disabled body.
MANDEM is a media-fluid artist conglomerate. Their work frequently examines the visceral body while in critical dialogue with art history and mythology. They recently completed artist residencies at Il Palmerino (Florence, Italy) and Negative Space Gallery (Cleveland, Ohio); they are now long-term studio residents with ARTFUL Cleveland. MANDEM serves as the visual arts editor for The Deaf Poets Society, a journal of deaf and disabled art and literature. Their current painting series, Hypermobility, has received multiple grants from the Ohio Arts Council.