1 - 29 May 2021
My work starts with a real event or situation and often through several versions of paintings, it moves from being more directly representational to a much more constructed composition. It is a process of stripping out the inessential and expanding on the more painterly and symbolic elements.
These paintings are largely painted during lockdown, so there’s a lot of latent energy and emotion. I was drawn to painting things shrouded in dust sheets as a symbol of life in stasis but as it is beginning to feel like we’re coming out into a spring time so there is quite a lot of colour and optimism showing through the drab.
My work is diaristic because I’ve found that the paintings come out better that way, if I have direct knowledge of the subject and emotional interest. The trouble has been what do you paint when you’re not able to go out much. The work has been focussed inward for a year but there’s plenty to look at and analyse. The best thing about it has been the ability to examine these spaces as psychologicaly loaded.
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.