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Harold Mendez
Patron Gallery, Chicago, Illinois
Recommendation by Robin Dluzen

Harold Mendez, "Margarita," 2016, found foam from a baseball batting helmet, broken glass, dried foliage, owl, rooster and vulture feathers, dimensions variable

Continuing through October 29, 2016

In “At night we walk in circles,” Harold Mendez judiciously peppers the space with multimedia assemblages and images. However, the word “multimedia” hardly begins to describe the way that Mendez sources materials that are loaded with associations, symbolism and histories. Referencing his Mexican and Colombian heritage, the artist creates complex and mysterious narratives from his materials — ones that read like those of ancient, long-lost relics that provide only hints about the world they come from.

The wide-ranging media list includes crushed cochineal insects (a bug that’s farmed in Central America for dyes used around the world), baseball batting helmet foam, a coconut and Kool-Aid. In “Let us gather in a flourishing way,” a copper copy of a death mask from Bogotá’s Museo del Oro (The Gold Museum) rests among white carnation petals atop an enormous slab of travertine — the stone that has been used to build some of the most lasting buildings in human history, like the Colosseum. Here, Mendez assembles such significant items under a title borrowed from a poem by U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera, constructing an enigmatic yet perceptible representation of loss, resilience, struggle and hope.

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