LONDON.- Whitfield Fine Art
presents an exhibition of early abstract paintings by 20th Century British artist Theodore Mendez (1934-1997). The exhibition is a reassessment of this talented artists early abstract work.
Theodore Mendez first attended Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts in 1950, at a time when so many, now icons, of 20th century British Art were also drawn to the School. The 1940s had seen Victor Pasmore, Michael Ayrton, John Minton, Keith Vaughan, Edward Ardizzone and William Coldstream hold posts on the teaching staff, and Mendez arrived when the likes of Terry Frost, Howard Hodgkin, Euan Uglow, Roy Turner Durrant, Bernard Dunstan and Gillian Ayres were all students there. Mendez spent three years in this company before completing his textile design studies at London Universitys Institute of Education from 1956-7.
During the 1950s he exhibited first at the Redfern Gallery in 1954; would later show his textile designs at the Victoria & Albert Museum in 1956; and in the same year went on to win the Design Award at the Manchester Colour, Design & Style Centre. Mendez returned to take up a teaching post at Camberwell in 1958, the same year as Frank Auerbach would start his time on the staff. They would be colleagues until 1965, when Auerbach left his post, and Mendez continued to teach full-time, later becoming Head of the Textile Department from 1976 until his retirement in 1984.
The influence of Camberwell is very evident in this selection of Mendezs early work. Elements of Auerbachs, Dunstans, Uglows and Frosts work can be picked out, whilst the works still all maintain the individual style that Mendez would develop and make his own. He exhibited less in the later years preferring to concentrate on his teaching. He did not diminish his creative output however and his paintings were still hung next to the likes of David Hockney, Patrick Caulfield, Patrick Heron & Roger Hilton in two exhibitions at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool in 1972 & 1978.