Pine Cones in Soft Mouths by artist Mandy Espezel explores the distinction of emotional knowledge versus intellectual knowledge through abstracted painting. These paintings juxtapose softness and detail to create new meaning from disparate source material.
Mandy Espezel is a visual artist originally from Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada. They received a BFA from the University of Alberta in 2007, and a MFA in 2012 from the University of Lethbridge. In between these years in academia, Espezel contributed regularly to Prairie Artsters.com (the Alberta-based visual arts blog created by Amy Fung) and created/co-authored the weekly arts review column “Art Box” with Jill Stanton, which was published in Edmonton’s former SEE Magazine. Espezel has been the recipient of an Alberta Foundation for the Arts Production Grant, The Livia Stoyke Foundation Best in Show Award, the Telus Music Video Fund, and has participated in numerous residencies, group exhibitions, and solo exhibitions across Canada. Upcoming projects include solo exhibitions with Casa Public Art Gallery, and with Harcourt House Gallery, both in early 2017. Currently based in Lethbridge, Espezel is a recurrent sessional instructor in the Art Department at the University of Lethbridge.
Based in an intuitive, material studio practice, my work inhabits a feminist-phenomenological discourse and an intentional engagement with the power and necessity of vulnerability. I work to confront the limits and conceptual dilemmas present within historically binary modes of representation/mimesis, while striving for corporeal embodiment. The manifestation of anxieties (realized in both psychological and physiological states), empathy, otherness, and the “autobiographical” as a source of influence in interpretation and production are current thematic concerns. My work is informed by an interest in contemporary issues of cultural, socio-political, and scientific/dogmatic current events, and the evolving conversation around identity politics. Residing within the realm of the expanded field of painting, and utilizing paintings structural language, my interdisciplinary practice challenges the distinction between emotional and intellectual knowledge, the hierarchical dichotomies created between the arts and sciences/body and mind, and between classifications of identity, such as gender, race, and social class. Subjectivity is source material, and through intensive confrontations of these categories, cultural meaning is broken down, and new possibilities for understanding unfold.