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Mary MendlaArtist and Apparel DesignerMary Mendla Fine Art and Apparel
I am a painter, fiber artist, and apparel designer living in Grafton, Wisconsin. I earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee in 1992. Since that time I have been on a creative journey that has led me in many directions; painting, teaching, fabric surface design, sculptural fiber art, and apparel design. I cannot choose one over the others; they each bring forth essential parts of my creative spirit.
My paintings and fiber art have often been referred to as atmospheres; surfaces to enter into rather than to simply view on a two dimensional surface. My intent is to metaphorically communicate my deepest emotions and spiritual experiences of the mystery of the natural world through color, texture, and composition. Intuition, rather than conscious control guides me in the expression of these experiences onto canvas, board, and textile. I work in partnership with my materials allowing possibilities to evolve that are inherent in them and in me. In this way the truths I express of my immersion in nature evolve further as each viewer reinterprets the art piece through their own personal experience.
My paintings are created through varied processes involving oil paint, cold wax medium, and a variety of other mixed media materials. Layer upon layer of paint, dry pigment, metal leaf, and additional media are applied to the surface. As the meaning and composition begin to spontaneously form in a painting, the layers of paint and other media are scraped through to create a rich, textural image. The archaeology of the painting is uncovered and the history buried between the layers is revealed which creates meaning through abstraction.
My textiles are created primarily through the techniques of Shibori and direct dye application. Shibori is the ancient Japanese art form of folding, tying, and binding fabric to create intricate variations in color and pattern which reveal themselves as the fabric is untied and dried – much like watching a photograph as it is developed in the darkroom. My two apparel lines, Facets Fashions and Affluere Yoga Wear, have grown out of my passion for this work with textile. My love for the beauty and mystery of the natural world inspire my surface design work. My attempt to re-create this beauty on textile is then brought to life on the human form through its transformation into a garment. (To view a current collection of my apparel, go to http://www.facetsfashions.etsy.com and http://www.affluereyogawear.etsy.com)
The enjoyment I get through creativity is very much enhanced by the unpredictable qualities inherent in the processes that I work with.