John Mendelsohn (2014)
John Mendelsohn

Mendelsohn received a Tree Of Life Individual Artist Fellowship in 2014 for Digital Presentation and Documentation.


John Mendelsohn came to New York from Pittsburg to study art history and fine art at Columbia University. He graduated in 1971, and then participated in the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program. The first exhibition of Mendelsohn’s paintings was at Artists Space. Those paintings were followed by further psycho-dramatic work, shown in solo exhibitions in New York in the 1980s. His work was shown in the Venice Biennale in 1986, in an exhibition organized by Marcia Tucker. In 1988, the Michael Walls gallery exhibited his series, The Alice Paintings, and Mendelsohn saw how abstraction could carry feelings beyond works and images. Many series of abstract paintings followed over the next twenty-five years. Reviews have appeared in the New York Times, Art in America and Arts Magazine. In the past two years, he has had four solo exhibitions of his paintings, as well as many group shows.

Digital Presentation and Documentation

My project is to create a website for my work, to purchase a new computer, and to convert color slides of paintings to digital files. As an older artist, I am dealing with changing technology and the need for the online presentation and documentation of my work.

Over the past four years, some exciting directions have emerged in my art, most notably the Mindflower drawings and paintings, which I intend to keep developing. This series features circular forms that seem to whirl in an atmosphere of darkness. Each disc resembles an abstract flower with radiating petals in a range of vibrant colors. Varieties of the flower forms accumulate, overlap and fill the space. The discs were originally painted in acrylic, then photocopied and collaged on the canvas. They were treated with solvents, blurring the colors and dissolving the surface, which revealed raw, white paper.

The flowers became like blazing or softly glowing stars suspended in black space, which itself is inhabited by vestiges of past forms. Mindflower, the title of the series, is taken from the phrase in Buddhist liturgy, “May the mind-flower bloom in eternal springtime….”