Mandem is featured in the "From WOMAN XII..." exhibit at The Gallery at Lakeland, opening February 24.
See this work on display from February 24 - March 29, 2019, with a public artist reception on Sunday, March 24 from 3:30-5:00pm.
The Gallery at Lakeland is located in the Performing Arts Center (Building D) at Lakeland Community College (7700 Tower Drive, Kirtland, OH 44094).
MANDEM is a conglomerate, three-bodied artist identity fronted by Maize Arendsee with co-artists Kitsuko and Moco. We each identify as nonbinary/genderqueer and as neurodiverse and/or disabled. Our identity finds expression in our work as an interest in the visceral body-and-mind as a site of both transformative beauty and also of socio-political hypercriticism and religious oversight. Our art is an exercise in categorical violations, simulation, and narrative. We are radically interdisciplinary, working across a spectrum of media and materials, mixing and matching elements from photography, classical painting, printmaking, soft sculpture, and film. At the core, MANDEM is a metamodernist, gleefully stealing from and queering the aesthetics of both post- and pre- modernism. (For example, we use the language of classical realism, which is primarily concerned with physical perfection, to assert the value of disabled bodies.) In this, we lure in the audience with a promise of visual pleasure and hook them with the barbed point of conceptual meaning. This attraction to narrative leads us to work in series, adapting our aesthetic techniques and materials to the concept of each project. "The Medical Trials of the Saints" series (which includes photography, printmaking, and painting) takes religious/mythical memes from art history and re-imagines them in a posthuman context. These images are designed to be simultaneously beautiful and horrific, to both compel and repel, and in so doing to reflect the complexity of our relationships with our environments, our faiths, and ourselves. Each piece represents months of work both in the studio and in the library, with dedicated research into the syncretic/memetic history of the saints, deities, or archetypes represented. The four pieces selected for this show are self-portraits of the artist as a child, and their surrealistic elements reference medical trauma, regeneration, and the power of make-believe. The two paintings showing here (“The Butterfly Eater” and “St. Vitus”) appear relatively straightforward in swearing allegiance to familiar classical painting techniques. In contrast, the two photographs (“The Little Prince” and “The Patron Saint of Stone”) are designed to be in visual dialog with the photo collage and watercolor techniques developed and shared by Victorian women (half a century before male surrealists and Dada artists appropriated collage and cut-up for their own uses, and a hundred years before 20th century photographers such as Uelsmann adapted the method for darkroom printing). Our photographs are created in a digital darkroom, remixing aesthetic elements of this 19th century women's craft with contemporary visual and cultural concerns. MANDEM is a long-term studio resident at ARTFUL Cleveland. Our internationally-exhibited art series "Hypermobility" has received numerous accolades, including three consecutive grants from the Ohio Arts Council. With an academic background in mythology, interdisciplinary humanities, art history, and studio art, Maize currently teaches photography and art history at Southern New Hampshire University.