Hugh Mendes

For the past decade Hugh Mendes has obsessively collected newspaper clippings which he translates into intimate and detailed trompe l’oeil paintings. Recently Mendes has been working on an ongoing, and never ending, series of obituaries. These journalistic articles serve to condense a life into a few column inches and a single image – a scrap of newsprint that becomes a heavy token, a memento, even an icon, when rendered in paint.

Focusing on iconic and irreverent imagery, this Obituaries series, largely sourced from the British paper The Guardian, serve as a meditation on mortality, and has gradually become dominant within the artist’s body of work. The act of painting, and therefore sustained concentration, brings a degree of focus and depth to what otherwise would be fleeting moments in the press.

Mendes was born in a British military hospital on Armistice Day in 1955 in Hostert, Germany where his mother was a nurse and his father was a code-breaker for the British Intelligence. Mendes holds a BA Painting from Chelsea School of Art in London, and an MA Painting from City & Guilds of London Art School, where he continues to teach. Mendes’ work has been seen previously in Los Angeles at Mark Moore Gallery in 2008 with the exhibition New London School, curated by Simon Rumley & Zavier Ellis, and in the group show On the Horizon: New Generation British Painters at Marine Contemporary in 2012.