Recent Works by Gayle Wells Mandle and Julia Barnes Mandle

In this exhibition, Gayle Wells Mandle and her daughter, Julia Barnes Mandle, use the motif of chairs as a vehicle to examine society’s eternal power struggle. Inspired by events in the Middle East and the United States, this series explores political and economic inequality through a variety of media, including large-format photography, painting, sculpture, installation, and embroidery. Gayle Wells Mandle is based in Massachusetts and Julia Mandle resides in the Netherlands, where she recently received support from the prestigious Mondriaan Fund.

Exhibition catalogue with curator’s statement and artist Q&A

Julia Mandle Artist Statement

For over a decade I have worked as a conceptual visual artist with a socially related art practice that was based first in NYC and since the last five years in Amsterdam. My artwork incorporates a wide variety of media: from charcoal to sugar, from performance to embroidery, and from photography to installation. What is consistent among all my projects is the original inspiration that I draw from current events and its impact on individuals. I think that my experience of witnessing the violence of 911 -the powdered covered people wandering the streets and the charred office papers continually raining from the sky- crystalized this artistic direction. The experience deepened my search for traces of people and their touch in the city. Coming across a lost worn-out shoe, a message written on a wall, or even a personal story in the news that takes my breath away, can all become starting points of my artistic response. My intention is to contribute to society by making stories tangible and stimulating empathy between people. -Julia Mandle

Gayle Wells Mandle Artist Statement

I am a storyteller.  I also feel it’s my responsibility as an artist to draw attention to world events that affect our well-being.  My inspiration is drawn from crumbling infrastructure and detritus left by “civilization”.  For years I’ve been questioning the ever-growing global economic imbalance.  Currently, the environment and safety of our water supply have become important subject matter for me. Our family has traveled extensively over the years: I have recently returned from living several years in the Middle East. Much of my artwork there focused on human rights issues and their need for clean water. – Gayle Wells Mandle

Video: Time-lapse recording of Gayle Wells Mandle and Julia Mandle’s Study for a Monument (2012), as part of the Alumni Invitational 4 exhibition at the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College.
Top image: Julia Mandle, Rising and Falling (detail), 2012, embrodiery