(ROCKWALL, TX – October 16, 2015) Originally from Rockwall, artist Jason Mehl has spent the better part of a decade exploring the world while creating art. Now the sculptor is pleased to announce an exhibit of new works titled “Intuitive Geometry” at his Oak Cliff studio.
The show will run from Saturday, October 24 though Sunday, November 29 at DNA Project Space, 1339 Plowman Avenue, Dallas, TX 75203 (near Bishop Arts). Hours are Monday through by appointment only; Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Mehl attended Rockwall schools through his sophomore year, graduated from the Winston School in Dallas, and earned a degree in Environmental Science from Stephen F. Austin University. His parents have lived in Rockwall since 1979. Mehl’s sculptures have been featured in numerous galleries across the state, country, and around the world.
From climbing mountains in South Korea and Indonesia, to facing floods in Costa Rica, to backpacking alone in Western Canada, the artist has gathered artifacts that he felt drawn to during his travels. He ultimately felt led to return to Dallas and create a series of sculptures inspired by the people and places he’s crossed paths with.
A self-taught artist, Mehl’s passion for nature resonates in his work. From a young age, Mehl spent days living in the wilderness, which eventually led to an insatiable need to immerse himself in nature alone for weeks or months at a time in his adult life. The artist would often visit an exotic location and immerse himself in the culture and nature around him. Disappearing for months at a time did not fare well with former employers and professors, but surviving Lyme Disease as well as almost losing a leg in India and the most painful type of insect bite in the world from the bullet ant, only made him long for more adventure.
Eventually, the young environmental scientist did what he had to do in order to satisfy his adventurous and creative appetite – become a full-time sculptor. Thriving off of challenging environments and situations, Mehl drew inspiration from his travels as he molded sculptures of all shapes and sizes, some 14 feet in height, for this body of work that ultimately became “Intuitive Geometry.”
The artist doesn’t seek to find and display unaltered found objects, but creates ambiguous, composite forms based on the intuitive geometry of nature, hence the title of his upcoming exhibition. Most of his works are comprised of bronze and ceramic; however he also incorporates wood, glass, rope and sometimes even found objects into the pieces. The overwhelming size of some of his works was an intentional move by Mehl, as he aims for the viewer to feel the full impact that nature can have on a person.
Believing that most people experience the beauty of nature on a smaller scale, through items like found stones and fossils, he hopes to inspire awe with large-scale sculptures heavily inspired by those same objects. Each sculpture is a moment of discovery; something of interest that grabs the viewer’s attention, something familiar, but can’t be easily defined. Each piece in “Intuitive Geometry” poses a question to the viewer and asks them to imagine what else was there. Are there parts missing? Was this a remnant of something larger, and if so, what? Each implies infinite possibilities of shape, scale, and function. Mehl’s work is a medium to visualize beyond the object. As he molds each sculpture out of glass, ceramic or bronze, the artist draws in ethereal elements similar to that of erosion, decay and the growth process. Using the transformational power of nature to guide him Mehl finds balance, shadows and negative space in these materials, almost as if each sculpture was a found object itself.
“The mechanics of what I do are never the same; I’m constantly exploring a piece as I make it,” said Mehl. “If I discover something like a shadow line that catches my eye, I try to carry it through the process and have it become part of the final form.”
Sculpting these forms is a cyclic process of addition and subtraction for the artist, an act of observation – building up and tearing down. The artist is prone to breaking down his own work and transforming entire sculptures into new forms, as if they’re reborn through the process. As a former environmental scientist, he understands the different ways in which natural processes produce forms that appeal to the artist inside him.
Mehl is able to render objects based on the tacit formulas of ratio, scale, and balance that exist by a set of natural rules seen every time we observe the world outside. As he goes through the creative process, the artist must relinquish a degree of conscious control and expectation as each sculpture reveals itself through often unexpected discoveries. Mehl showcases his work as a way to bring the beauty and form of nature to the viewer, rather than seeking any degree of appreciation or validation. This is reflected in his technique, as Mehl considers the natural form and “gives” of the medium rather than trying to force material into a form that would be more appealing to the eye. Each sculpture is a moment of discovery; something of interest that grabs our attention, something familiar but that can’t be easily defined.
“Much like Suiseki, an entire art form of stone appreciation in the Tang Dynasty centered around the fact that they believed rocks were the bones of the world, my sculptures are meditative tools to reconnect people with an environment that’s becoming increasingly distant due to the confines of manufactured spaces and schedules,” said Mehl. “Some of the pieces with architectural elements go further to describe an oppositional relationship between humankind and the natural world as a force that is somewhere between an offensive and defensive action.”
New works by Jason Mehl were recently exhibited at the 2015 Houston Fine Arts Fair earlier this month, and sculptures by the artist are currently a part of the Seven-State BIENNIAL, judged by renowned sculptor James Surls, at Nesbitt Gallery, Charles B. Goddard Center and Museum of the Red River in Oklahoma. The artist will also be a part of a group exhibition titled, “Speaking Silence” on view from Sunday, Nov. 1 through Thursday, Dec. 3 at Gallery Shoal Creek in Austin, Texas. A springtime solo show of smaller sculptures and works by the artist will be on view from Saturday, April 16 to Saturday, May 28 at JM Gallery in Dallas, located at One Arts Plaza.
To learn more Jason Mehl, visit JasonMehl.com.
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