The Village Voice

Mel Kendrick: ‘sub-stratum’

November 3, 2015

For Mel Kendrick, air and concrete prove interchangeable. The artist uses a hot wire to carve lithe forms out of foam blocks and then casts the shapes — and the shells left behind — in concrete. Some of the more open rectangles are stacked atop the extracted volumes, succinctly solving the age-old conundrum of pedestal vs. sculpture. These riveting constructions, where the guts underpin the carcass, entice the eye with their visceral grace while flummoxing the brain, which struggles to fit the parts back together.

One piece, white as a sepulcher, this time with the weighty volume atop the void, is titled Clear Ideas (After Magritte), referencing the surrealist’s painting of a boulder and a cloud hovering above ocean waves. Like that master, Kendrick asks us not, “What is reality?” but, more crucially, “What is possible?”

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The New York Times

Mel Kendrick at David Nolan

November 9, 2007

A strong show from a sculptor who pursues Postminimalism’s emphasis on self-evident structure and process, while developing his own affinity for wood, hand-working, eccentric form and, well, Cubism. Each of these small red sculptures has been cut entirely from the red pedestal on which it sits, largely unaltered. The patchwork of positive and negative, mass and silhouette, red and less red makes for a lot of interesting visual guessing, but they transcend puzzling. A much larger, very green piece is especially promising.

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The New Criterion

Gallery Chronicle

February 2014

Like everything Kendrick touches, they are created through an intense internal logic that at first seems fully laid out but becomes more mysterious the more you observe. Like his sculptures made of positive and negative volumes, the “water drawings” are created through positive and negative molds, with shapes from a machine-age boneyard that Kendrick arranges flat before slopping on the paper pulp and squeezing out the water under pressure. The resulting “drawing” is itself a negative of the molds and exists in relief on the paper surface, which Kendrick also highlights with carbon black. Now at Nolan, where several of these sheets are arrayed in the main gallery, we can see the evolution of the process. By increasing the complexity of the molds and lowering the contrast of the carbon black, shapes not only sit on one another but thread together in a visual play, which was only enhanced as I walked around them and took in the surfaces undulating in relief. As with his sculptures, Kendrick knows he’s on to something. He may not know what just yet, but he knows it’s great.

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The New York Observer

From Mary Boone to the Parrish: Mel Kendrick Sculptures Visit the Hamptons

July 2011

It can take years, even decades, for an artwork to move from an artist’s studio to a commercial gallery to a museum, and few pieces ever make that complete trip. However, New York-based artist, Mel Kendrick has managed to accomplish that feat in under a year.

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Art in America

Mel Kendrick

June 2011

Mel Kendrick has native Brancusian sensibilities, but he came into artistic maturity in the 1970’s, “when process was everything,” as he puts it. Two opposing impulses, one to invent his own geometric forms, anther to honor the given geometries of his materials, have been informing his work ever since. Two recent exhibitions-a review of the past 16 years at David Nolan and a display of months-old monumental works at Mar Boone-showed Kendrick’s path and its culmination to date.

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The New Criterion

Gallery Chronicle

April 2011

Mel Kendrick is a sculptor of process, but his product was the big hit two years ago in Madison Square Park in Manhattan. In the center oval, the park conservancy temporarily installed five enormous new works, all of the same series called “Markers.” The forms were unmistakable Kendrick, shapes he had been working on in wood for several years.

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The New Criterion

Gallery Chronicle

October 2009

Several shows this month deserve far more attention than space allows, so here are the best of them, however briefly. When I last reviewed the sculptor Mel Kendrick, another David Nolan artist, I objected to the diminutive scale of the work on view. Kendrick is a constructivist who carves an abstract shape from a wood block, then places the result on top of a base made of the leftover pieces. For an artist who likes to show his hand, sometimes the process gets the better of the product. Not so for a set of monumental sculptures now on view in Madison Square Park. Derived from many of the same forms at his last Nolan show, these outdoor giants executed in poured black-and-white concrete are playful exceptions to the cloying piles that normally pass for public sculpture. To appreciate their power, just visit the park with children around. By climbing through every hole and jumping off every shape of Kendrick’s work, they understand the fun of these structures without the need for further explanation.

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The New York Times

Inside Art: “Markers” at the Park

September 2009

Five monumental sculptures — cast concrete poured in alternating layers of black and white — were installed this week throughout Madison Square Park, that swath of green space between Madison and Fifth Avenues from 23rd to 26th Street. The exhibition is the work of the New York sculptor Mel Kendrick, who is perhaps best known for his wood objects. These pieces are his first public art project in the city and his first experiment with cast concrete.

“It’s a material I’ve wanted to work with for a long time,” he said. “These pieces are all about slicing and reconstructing shapes, sort of like the idea of the old ship in a bottle.”

The show’s title, “Markers,” has many meanings for Mr. Kendrick, including a nod to the black-and-white marble found in Gothic Italian cathedrals as well as a reference to the notion of marking one’s place.

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Art in America

Mel Kendrick at David Nolan

January 2008

An unassuming show in a small gallery, Mel Kendrick’s “Red Blocks” was stealthily potent. In the main room, five sculptures stood on a row on the floor, their rectangular bottoms squared with the wall. Two more faced an adjacent wall, forming a dogleg. All were made following the kind of dismantling-and-recomposing procedure Kendrick has followed in one variation or another for 20 years. In these sculptures, from 2007, a block of wood is cut into eccentric pieces; some of the pieces are removed piecemeal, reassembled more or less faithfully, and stached on top of the original. Since the sides of the blocks are painted red before the sawing begins, it is relatively simple to visualize how the pieces could all be fit back together.

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ARTnews

Mel Kendrick at David Nolan

January 2008

With their low center of gravity, rough-hewn chunkiness, and warm red tone, Mel Kendrick’s seven “Red Blocks” are endearingly low-tech. These chiseled cubic sculptures resemble three-dimensional jigsaw puzzles or an interpretation of lawn dwarfs in the style of Picasso. Arranged in a near semicircle along the walls of the main gallery, the sculptures had an odd anthropomorphic quality, like a tribe of wooden dolls. (The back room contained a roguish leader of the pack; nearly twice as tall as its rosy brethren and painted Astroturf green, it looks like a deconstructed frog.) But despite their apparent simplicity, these mahogany building blocks are an elegant exercise in interior/exterior, positive/negative space.

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Additional Articles and Reviews

Mel Kendrick by Ben La Rocco, The Brooklyn Rail, November 2007
Inside Out: An Interview With Mel Kendrick by Daniel Rothbart, Artery, January 15, 2012
Mel Kendrick: Extended Time by Jonathan Goodman, Sculpture Magazine, January/February 2007
Carroll Dunham on Mel Kendrick by Carroll Dunham, Bomb Magazine, Fall 2004
Mel Kendrick by Jonathan Goodman, Sculpture, December 2003
Mel Kendrick : Drawings in Wood. by Ken Johnson, The New York Times, January 17, 2003
Mel Kendrick by Robert Boyce, Sculpture, October 2002
Youth and Experience Transforming a Town by Grace Glueck, The New York Times, August 9, 2002
The Nature of Inspiration by Christine Temin, The Boston Globe, July 4, 2002
Wood Sculptures Romanticize Art, Not Trees by Alice Thorson, Art, The Kansas City Star, Dec 13, 1996
Mel Kendrick at John Weber by Robert Taplin, Art in America, Feburary 1996, p. 88-89
Mel Kendrick’s Ten Loops Slit by Richard Campbell, Arts, The Magazine of the Members of the The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, June 1995, p. 7
New artwork pop up at city’s institutions by Sally Vallongo, The Blade, November 10, 1994, Toledo, OH
Mel Kendrick by Nancy Princenthal, Art in America, Feburary 1994
Mel Kendrick by Donald Kuspit, Artforum, January 1994
6 East End Sculptors at Midcareer by Phyllis Braff, The New York Times, July 26, 1992
Sculpture at Guild Hall Moves Beyond Minimalism by Robert Long, Southampton Press, July 16, 1992
From the Studio, A Far Cry by Rose C.S. Slivka, The East Hampton Star, June 11, 1992
Sag Harbour Sculptors Feature in Show, The Sag Harbour Express, June 11, 1992
Modern and Big, The East Hampton Star, June 11, 1992
Through a Blighted Landscape by Jed Perl, New Criterion, September 1992
Interlocking Parts by Miles Beller, Artweek , no. 13, April 9, 1992, p. 24
Summer Stock by Kay Larson, New York, September 2, 1991, p. 60
In Westchester, Sculpture Meets Nature by Michael Kimmelman, The New York Times, July 19, 1991, c1
Mel Kendrick’s Calculated Risks by Michael Boodro, ARTnews, May 1991, cover and pp. 104-109
review, ‘Summer Group Show’ by Robert C. Morgan, New Art International, Feburary 1991, p. 82
Portfolio: Mel Kendrick, Bomb, Spring 1990, pp. 74-79
Mel Kendrick at Salam-Caro Gallery by Anne Barclay Morgan, Sculpture, May/June 1990, pp. 98-99
Review, ‘Mel Kendrick’, The Print Collector’s Newsletter, May/June 1990, pp. 60-61
Out of Wood by Cynthia Nadelman, Sculpture, May/June 1990, pp. 95-98
Mel Kendrick and The Well-Adjusted Object by Bruce W. Ferguson, Art in America, February 1990, pp. 146-155
Complex Forms by John Dorsey, The Sun, Baltimore, January 4, 1990
Contemporary American Art on Display by Theodore F. Wolff, Bay News, April 17, 1989
Museum Show Reflects New Attention to Sculpture by Tom Wachunas, The Phoenix, March 2, 1989
untitled by Mel Kendrick, Balcon, Summer 1989, pp. 164-169
Sculpture Shows at Two Branches of The Whitney by Michael Brenson, The New York Times, Dec 22, 1989
review by Lewis Kachur, Art International, Autumn 1989, p. 58
Mel Kendrick at John Weber by Gloria Amann, Cover, Summer 1989, p. 14
Going Beyond Slickness: Sculptors Get Back to Basics by Michael Brenson, The New York Times, Mar 3, 1989
Mel Kendrick: Essays by Michael FitzGerald, Trinity Reporter, Winter 1989
Pilgrim’s, Process by Nancy Princenthal, The New York Times, March 13, 1987, pp. 76-77
Photos and Sculptures at the Aldrich by Vivien Raynor, The New York Times, November 27, 1988
Witty Art – Historical Quotations by Joan Hugo, Artweek, March 12, 1988
Sculptors-In-Process by Ann Berman, Town and Country, September 1987, pp. 269-272
At Newberger Sculptor Rediscovers Wood in Exotic Ways by William Zimmer, The New York Times, Aug 6, 1987, p. 28
7 Artists in the New Britain Show by Vivien Raynor, The New York Times, April 12, 1987, p. 26
New Britain Exhibit Wisely Avoids Theme and Displays by Matt Damsker, The Hartford Courant, March 22, 1987
Up with Color and Craft by Patricia Degener, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, March 8, 1987, p. 4c
Kendrick: Process and Experimentation by Phyllis Tuchman, Newsday, New York, February 20, 1987, p. 29
Head, Heart, and Hands by Steven Kaplan, Artfinder, Spring 1987, pp. 96-102
Mel Kendrick at Barbara Krakow Gallery by Thomas Frick, Art New England, May 1986
On and Off the Street by David Bonnetti, The Boston Phoenix, Section Three, April 15, 1986
untitled by Christine Temin, The Boston Globe, March 27, 1986
Sculptor’s Wonderful Way with Wood by Nancy Stapen, The Boston Herald, March 28, 1986
The Road Now Taken by Phyllis Tuchman, Art Criticism, vol. 2, 1986
Le Cienge Area by Suzanne Muchnic, Los Angeles Times, November 29, 1985, Part V, p. 16
untitled by Susanne Stephens, House & Garden, November 1985, photo of work only
untitled, Bomb Magazine, No. XIII, Fall 1985, p. 67, photo of work only
Review by Thomas McElvilley, Artforum, May 1985, pp. 112-113
Contrasts in Form: Geometric Abstract Art, 1910-1980, from the Collection of the Museum of Modern Art Including the Riklis Collection of McCrory Corporation by Magdalena Dabrowski, The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Vitality Emerges from Geometric Abstraction by Suzanne Muchnic, L.A. Times, February 1985
Concepts in Construction: 1910-1980, a traveling exhibition by Vivien Raynor, The New York Times, February 10, 1985
Sculptors Interviews by Wade Saunders, Art in America, November 1985, pp. 110-111, 122-123
The Whitney Biennial: The MTV of Art by Phyllis Tuchman, Newsday, March 29, 1985
review by Michael Brenson, The New York Times, February 22, 1985
A Decade of New Art by Vivien Raynor, The New York Times, June 8, 1984
A Collection That Breathes The Spirit of Modernism by Grace Glueck, The New York Times, April 8, 1984
untitled by Gregory Hedberg, The Tremaine Collection: 20th Century Masters, 1984, Wadsworth Antheneum, CT
untitled by William Wilson, Los Angeles Times, December 9, 1983
untitled by Kate Linker, Artforum, September 1983
untitled by Theodore Wolff, Christian Science Monitor, May 31, 1983
untitled by Wade Saunders, Art in America, Summer 1983
untitled by Stephen Eiseman, Arts Magazine, June 1983
Sculpture: Mel Kendrick by Vivien Raynor, The New York Times, April 15, 1983
James Biederman, Don Gummer, Mel Kendrick by Claire Wolf Krantz, New Art Examiner, Chicago, March 1982
Review of the Artis Club of Chicago Show by Harold Haydon, Chicago Sun Times, February 12, 1982
Entries: Sheer Grunge by Robert Pincus-Witten, Art in America, May 1981
Mel Kendrick at Weber by Bob Knafo, Art in America, February 1981
New Talent/New York by Nina Sundell, Dialogue, January/February 1981
untitled by Michael Klein, Arts, January 1981
What’s Done in New York by William Olander, Live, January 1981
John Weber Artists Reject Traditional Mold by Lillian Dobbs, The Miami News, January 23, 1981
untitled by Thomas Lawson, Artforum, December 1980
review by William Zimmer, Soho News, October 15, 1980
review by Elizabeth Stevens, Baltimore Sun, June 6, 1980
review by Jo Ann Lewis, Washington Post, June 8 1980
review by Deborah Perlberg, Artforum, May 1979
review by Harriet Seine, New York Post, March 10, 1979
review by Hilton Kramer, The New York Times, August 5, 1977
review by Susan Heinemann, Artforum, April 1974