Seeing Things in Things
November 6, 2022 to February 19, 2023
Presenting a wide range of sculpture from the artist’s decades-long career, Mel Kendrick: Seeing Things in Things explores how Mel Kendrick (American, b. 1949) exploits the essential properties of his selected medium to create sculptures that inherently lay bare the process by which they were made.
Since the 1970s, Mel Kendrick has charted a unique and innovative path of experimentation, making objects with a sustained and concentrated intensity. Aesthetically informed by both process-oriented conceptual art and minimalism, his rejection of narrative and illusion in favor of works that are self-contained and self-referential has led to an ever-evolving interrogation of the function and possibilities of sculpture. Bringing together over 70 works that span nearly five decades, this exhibition offers a rare glimpse into the development of one of the boldest and most consistently adventurous artists of his generation.
Pursuing a simultaneously analytical and intuitive approach and guided by the essential properties of his materials, whether wood, bronze, rubber, resin, cast paper, or concrete, Kendrick creates objects that provide clues to the process by which they were made. Visible traces of his trial-and-error method—marks, cuts, paint, oil stains—compel us to tease out the logic and unravel the mystery of each sculpture’s making. And while these visual puzzles are not always solved they encourage us to look closely. Contemplating them, we share in the artist’s meditations on the relationships between inner and outer, positive and negative, organic and geometric; at the same time, we are made aware of the distinction between nature and culture.
Kendrick has said that the goal is to make something you want to see, that doesn’t yet exist. He notes: “Every sculpture is only a point in time. Every object could go further.” His singular vision and his restless experimentation ensure that this varied oeuvre will do just that.
A fully illustrated catalogue co-published and distributed by Rizzoli International includes essays by former Parrish Director Terrie Sultan, art historian Nancy Princenthal, and others.
Mel Kendrick: Seeing Things in Things was organized by the Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts and curated by Allison Kemmerer, The Mary Stripp and R. Crosby Kemper Director. The presentation at the Parrish Art Museum is organized by Corinne Erni, Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs and Senior Curator of ArtsReach and Special Projects, with additional support from Kaitlin Halloran, Curatorial Assistant and Publications Coordinator and Brianna L. Hernández, Curatorial Fellow.
The presentation of Mel Kendrick: Seeing Things in Things at the Parrish Art Museum is made possible, in part, thanks to the generous support of Dorothy Lichtenstein, Imperfect Family Foundation; William R. Peelle, Jr.; Fiona and Eric Rudin; Jack Shear; The Drawing Room, East Hampton; The Evelyn Toll Family Foundation; Agnes Gund; Linda Hackett, Melinda Hackett: CAL Foundation; David Nolan Gallery, New York; Sandy and Stephen Perlbinder; Susan Dunlevy; Hugh J. Freund and Sandra Wijnberg; Francis J. Greenburger; Elliott and Mimi Meisel; John L. Thomson; Raymond J. Learsy; and Carol LeWitt.
The Parrish Art Museum’s programs are made possible, in part, by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature, and by the property taxpayers from the Southampton School District and the Tuckahoe Common School District.
The exhibition at the Addison and the publication have been generously supported by the Michael and Fiona Scharf Publications Fund, the Sidney R. Knafel Exhibition Fund, Toby D. Lewis, Katherine D. & Stephen C. Sherrill ’71, P’05, ’07, ’10, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Frank Williams and Keris Salmon, the Alice M. & Thomas J. Tisch Foundation, Raymond Learsy, The Fifth Floor Foundation, Dr. & Mrs. John Bassett, Gail Monaghan, Francis J. Greenburger, Wheelock Whitney III, and Mr. and Mrs. Edward A. K. Adler.
About the Artist
Mel Kendrick’s sculptures have drawn widespread critical acclaim throughout his career. He is a three-time recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and received the both the Francis J. Greenburger Award and the American Academy of Arts & Letters’s Academy Award. Kendrick’s work is represented in the collections of leading museums across the U.S., including the Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D. C.; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven; The Art Institute of Chicago; Nasher Museum of Art, Durham, NC; Parrish Art Museum; Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, MA; Dallas Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH. International venues include Australian National Gallery, Canberra; Centro Cultural Arte Contemporano, Mexico City; and Daimler Kunst Sammlung, Berlin.