Exhibition Dates: February 5 – March 5, 2011
Merry Karnowsky Gallery, Los Angeles
Also showing in the Main Gallery: Victor Castillo: Rebels With a Cause
Merry Karnowsky Gallery is proud to present Arms Out, a solo exhibition by Mel Kadel. Using coffee-stained paper, micron .005 pens, hand mixed ink wash, pencil, and blades, the artist creates carefully detailed and layered drawings of childlike characters exploring, opening up, and overcoming peril with fierce determination. Thick layers of hand cut paper are carefully collaged within each scene, making Kadel’s work delicate and dimensional, patterned and precise, with foregrounds, middle grounds, and backgrounds reminiscent of 1950’s engravings.
With a technique some have called “drawing with an eyelash,” Kadel has created a visual narrative that communicates interconnectedness, balance, and the idea that we are all part of a system whether recognized or not. Inertia is an important part of what propels the work, and whether standing idle, entwined, or reaching up, or outward – what Aristotle said is true – the whole is indeed greater than the sum of its parts. In Kadel’s world characters embark on wondrous adventures, face absurd obstacles, and complete daunting tasks within their lush, imaginative world. Undaunted by gravity, they push, pull, climb, and reach to arrive at their veiled destination.
Using her unusual layering technique, the artist creates wallpaper-like patterns with texture and depth in a seamless fashion that suspends her characters somewhere between imagination and reality. Drawn to patterns and repetition, Kadel sets her characters in surreal landscapes where girls’ tears form rivers, and horses are patched together like quilts. Intricate motifs, such as a sun made of flowers, or coils of rope-like bodies, create an allegorical glow, which is disarmingly warm. Also exhibited are more abstracted patterns with flora filled landscapes, independent of figures, yet interdependent with the elements.
Musician Ian MacKaye of Minor Threat says of Kadel’s work, “Mel goes so hard on her work it's a wonder she hasn't fallen in. Actually, I think if you look close enough you'll see a piece of her in every picture. No joke.”
Kadel is originally from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and graduated from Moore College of Art & Design in Philadelphia. After living in New York for a few years, she moved to Los Angeles where she now resides in a log cabin by the 5 Freeway with her partner, artist Travis Millard. Kadel’s work has shown in numerous galleries throughout the United States and abroad in London, Sydney, and Denmark. Her work has appeared in publications including Juxtapoz, Monster Children, and LA Times Magazine.
MERRY KARNOWSKY GALLERY / 170 S. LA BREA AVENUE / LOS ANGELES, CA 90036
323.933.4408 / http://www.mkgallery.com / Gallery Hours: Tues - Sat 12-6pm