Pablo Martin & Ben Medansky: Mental
March 18 – April 18, 2021
About the Exhibition
“In order to change an existing imagined order, we must first believe in an alternative imagined order.”
― Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
Harvey Preston Gallery, in collaboration with ETHER Arts Project, is pleased to present a two-person exhibition featuring works by LA based ceramic artist Ben Medansky and Argentinian painter Pablo Martin. The discourse of the show is based on the connection between abstract thought and the exclusively human ability of imagining new worlds.
The search for what Martin understands as the human factor is what drives him to create, inspired by original peoples around the globe. His primeval compositions are applied directly with black charcoal paint onto found materials, with small sticks and other natural elements, usually as the recurring image of a monochrome head. This obsessive motif, rooted in his career-long research on the interior of this archetypal form, functions simultaneously as face, mask and object.
In his installation “Cabecitas” (Small heads in Spanish) Martin explores the concept of how the collective consciousness has been shaped by the transmission of thoughts and ideas in literature. Martin establishes connections and hierarchies between elements by referring to a constructed imaginary symbology, making visible the connection between humans and their belief systems through the use of geometry.
In a similar fashion, Medansky’s sculptures emulate the structure of abstract thought. The use of geometric patterns create random compositions that, when laid against a wall, narrate the story of how industrial aesthetics retain both rough and human qualities.
Bridging the gap between the technological advancements of human societies and the exploitation of raw earthy materials, the artist shapes the hard against the soft through his refined craftsmanship. The head is interpreted as a vessel for thought, wrapping and twisting ideas in our mind, inviting that uniquely human capacity to reimagine other possible futures.
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More About the Artists
Pablo Martin (Buenos Aires, 1974). Having studied Graphic Design, and being a self-taught painter, Martin had studio concentrations with Eduardo Stupía, Marina de Caro and Matias Duville. He has exhibited in public venues in Argentina such as Centro Cultural Borges, CC Paco Urondo, La Casona de los Olivera and Museo de Arte Popular José Hernández. In 2009 he created Periódica, Grupo de Gestión along with his partner Florencia Fernandez Frank, producing shows, fairs and publications for underrecognized artists. He’s been an active member of Proyecto La Estrella – a socially inclusive project based in providing artistic tools to marginalized children from Buenos Aires suburbs. He was invited to participate in art residencies in Mexico DF and Oaxaca (México), Tilcara (Jujuy, Argentina) and Salta (Argentina). In 2015 he obtained recognition under Drawing category at Salón Nacional de Artes Visuales, Palais de Glace. He exhibited internationally in Mexico, Austria, Germany, France and United States.
Ben Medansky (b. 1988) was born in Scottsdale, AZ and received his BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2010. His work has been exhibited at The American Museum of Ceramic Art, Craft and Folk Art Museum, Cooper Hewitt Design Museum, Cooler Gallery, The Underground Museum, among other venues. Medansky’s ceramics are included in the permanent collection of the Los Angeles Museum County of Art. He has been reviewed in The New York Times, Architectural Digest, LA Times, among others. He was the recipient of the Maison & Objet Americas Rising Talent in Design Award. Ben has created exclusive work in collaboration with Herman Miller, the legendary Bergdorf Goodman, and world-renowned designer Kelly Wearstler. Medansky has been a visiting lecturer at The American Museum of Ceramic Art, California College of Art, and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He has taught at Ox Bow School of Art and was an artist in residence at The Headlands Center for the Arts and Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts. Medansky lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.