Hugh Mendes is an artist renowned for his distinctive obituary paintings. They present portraits of famous figures as if they were press clippings from the obituary pages of The Guardian, realistically executed in the manner of still life or trompe l’oeil paintings from the 17th century. The focus on famous figures and the tradition of the portrait speak of our celebrity-focused culture, whilst imitation of the press clipping references the repetitive media imagery through which fame and celebrity are constructed and disseminated. The macabre undercurrents of the obituary also tie into the historical tradition of the memento mori, whereby his paintings become reminders of the transience of life. Through his unique approach Hugh finds something timeless and transcendental in the rapid succession of images that bombard our everyday lives.
Hugh Mendes, Mendes & Co (Deceased)
20 April – 13 May 2023
James Freeman Gallery
‘Mendes & Co. (Deceased)’ presents a collection of new artist obituary paintings by the London-based artist Hugh Mendes, exhibited alongside artworks created by his subjects: Bram Bogart, Andy Warhol, Elizabeth Frink, Alan Davie, Albert Irvin, Auguste Rodin, and Mario Schifano. The exhibition is presented in collaboration with Blond Contemporary and Charlie Smith London.