Paintings, drawings and textile designs from 1953-1988
1 - 29 May 2021
Born in London in 1934, Theo lived his whole life in that city, as an artist and teacher. He studied at Camberwell in the 1950’s as a contemporary of Terry Frost, Howard Hodgkin, Gillian Ayres and Ewan Uglow. His work reflects the mid twentieth century, moving from figuration to abstraction. The drawings date from the 1950's and the abstract paintings from 1984 which was the year he retired from his position as head of the Textile and Design Department of Camberwell School of Art. Mendez had been a strong and inspirational teacher and the textile course became widely acclaimed under his leadership, launching many successful careers in the UK fashion and design world, including Georgina Von Etzdorf, John Galliano, Katherine Hamnett and Vivienne Westwood.
Theo had a passion for music, which he listened to constantly when painting - French music, Debussy, Milhaud and Poulenc, as well as jazz and Argentine tangos: ‘sometimes the work comes directly from music, to which I listen for several hours every day, like food and drink, it is essential. If I achieve anything at all, it has, for me, to stand lasting contemplation - mystical, intangible’.
During his lifetime, Theo exhibited widely including at the Redfern Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Arnolfini in Bristol, the Bear Lane in Oxford and the South London Gallery.