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 Jonathan Mandell  (21st century)

About: Jonathan Mandell


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Lived/Active: Pennsylvania      Known for: wall mounted and sculptural mosaic work, teaching

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Artist Statement:

- "I See My Work As The Juncture of Painting, Sculpture and Drawing"
I am inspired in my art from two directions. The first is from what is afforded to us by nature. By this I mean that nature provides us with an endless supply of examples of different textures, patterns, shapes and colors that can spark the imagination. The second are the visual artists who have added a unique perspective of how nature can be understood in a fresh way. An example of this would be when Cezanne painted his muse, Mont Sainte Victoire. Each time he offered a rendering of the mountain, he constructed a way in which people could view it through fresh eyes. Cezanne created breathtaking color and spatial compositions that rivaled the very relevance of the subject matter, eliciting powerful emotions through his compositional skills.

I am inspired in this vein to pursue the medium of mosaic. I see mosaic as the meeting place of drawing, painting and sculpture. The grout lines act as drawing lines, creating depth perspective and the volume of form. Armed with this knowledge, I can sculpt the individual pieces to form a painterly image. I have always sought out as many different ways as possible to approach mosaic. In working with glass shards, I push the medium in the directions of bas-relief, which is the fusion of sculpture and drawing. The convex and concave pieces taken from broken vessels and vases can be cut in such a way that their degree of convexity can determine how much of a topographic quality I want to add across the mosaic surface. The bas-relief can be used to assist in the rendering of an anatomical or landscape feature. For example, the convexity and concavity of the glass shards can recreate the effect of a rolling hill or the roundness of a shoulder as it connects with a torso. This can be taken to the extreme of creating fully dimensional mosaics with jacket-free standing sculptural forms.

With my choice of imagery, I enjoy infusing a narrative quality to my art. I am trying to consciously create art that I believe will uplift my audience. We as a people yearn for that which we can enjoy, and it is my aim to add to this collective whole.

One of the pleasures in working with mosaic is that I don’t have to stop at merely creating a way to represent the outside world. I can go so far as to use pieces of this world in my representations. The abundance of choices available material-wise is inspirational to me. I work with a range of semi-precious stones, minerals, and shells to add to the richness of the mosaic surface. I have choices as to whether I want to use a material for the beauty of its color and patterning, or I can choose to use a material because of its bas-relief qualities like a crystalline structure or a carved sphere. Often times, raised elements come out of the mosaic surface, adding to the overall texture of the piece. All of this plays into what I view as the most attractive feature of mosaic: That being its tactile quality. I like to think of my mosaics as being tactile paintings or sculptures. I would encourage the viewing public to handle my art and appreciate it on that level. Mosaic is a time-honored medium where there are endless opportunities for visual and tactile exploration.

Besides Cezanne, mentioned earlier, other artists who inform my art are Vincent Van Gogh, Henri Matisse, William Henry Johnson, Constantine Brancusi, Neil Welliver and Selim El-Sherif. They all offer such unique and clearly understood ways of representing the world around them. These artists created bodies of work that seem effortless in their novel approaches of how one can compose a space or arrange color.

Following is a list of Public Commissions.

Bryn Mawr Hospital, Bryn Mawr, PA, 2012 (8ft x 6ft)

Hadassah Medical Center, Ein Kerem, Israel, 2012 (4ft x 3ft)

Bryn Mawr Film Institute, Bryn Mawr, PA 2011 (8ft x 3ft)

Somers Point's Shore Medical Center, Somers Point, NJ, 2011 (2 mosaics at 24” x 24”)

Camp Bauercrest, Amesbury, MA 2011 (6ft x 4ft)

Dickinson College, Asbell Center, Carlisle, PA, 2011 (20” x 20”)

Holy Redeemer Hospital, St. Joseph’s Manor, Meadowbrook, PA 2011

Lower Merion High School, Ardmore, PA 2010 mosaic for Kobe Bryant Gymnasium (3ft x 4ft)

Lower Merion High School, Ardmore, PA, 2010 mosaic for lobby (10ft x 6ft)

Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, IHMEC Sculpture, 2009, (36” x 24” x24”)

Holy Redeemer Hospital, St. Joseph’s Manor, Meadowbrook, PA 2011 (2 mosaics at 24” x 24”)

Lower Merion High School, Ardmore, PA 2010 mosaic for Kobe Bryant Gymnasium (3ft x 4ft)

Lower Merion High School, Ardmore, PA, 2010 mosaic for lobby (10ft x 6ft)

Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, IHMEC Sculpture, 2009, (36” x 24” x24”)

The Philadelphia 76ers, Summertime Fun, for the Ronald McDonald House, Philadelphia, PA, 2008, (24”x36”)

Ma’ayanot Yeshiva High School for Girls, Teaneck, NJ Ma’ayanot, 2008 (60”x36”)

AtantiCare Regional Medical Center, Atlantic City, NJ, Giclee print series, 2007

The National Constitution Center, Philadelphia, PA, We the People, 2007 (10ft x 6ft)

The Perelman Center for Jewish Life, University of Pennsylvania,

Philadelphia, PA, Perelman Center for Jewish Life, 2007 (48” x 36”)

The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, lobby mosaic The Jewish Exponent, 2004 (48”x36”)

The Philadelphia Phillies, Citizens Bank Park, two mosaics, Citizens Bank Park (96”x72”) and a (72”x48”) Portrait of Jim Thome , 2004

Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia, PA, Lifetime Achievement Award created for author Chiam Potok, 2003 (18”x18”)

Hillel of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, Timeline of the History of the Jewish People, 2003 (120”x 72”)

Temple Beth Hillel/Beth El, Wynnewood, PA, 2002 (60”x60”) Sacred Realm

Bet Shalom Synagogue, Minneapolis, MN, 2002 (92”x109”)

Overbrook High School, Philadelphia, PA, Wilt Chamberlain as a Young Man, 2001 (8’x3’)

Abramson Center for Jewish Life, Horsham, PA Western Wall, 2001 (8’x3’)

Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia-Tzedakah Box, 2000 (38”x16”x16”)

Temple Beth Sholom, Las Vegas, NV-The Jewish Path, 2000 (7’D)-floor National Liberty Museum, Philadelphia, PA-Tolerence Proclamation, 1999 (60”x24”)

United Way of Southeastern PA and Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia-50 Years of Community, Philadelphia, PA, 1999 (24”x36”)

National Museum of American Jewish History, Philadelphia, PA

Time Capsule, 1999 (24”x24”x24”)

Perelman/Schechter Day School, Wynnewood, PA  Perelman Schechter Day School , 1998 (60”x60”)

Temple Israel, Swampscott, MA Temple Israel 50th , 1998 (48”x36”)

Temple Adath Israel, Merion, PA Temple Adath Israel 50th, 1997 (56”x38”)

The Jewish Theological Seminary of America, New York, NY Burning Bush 1997 (60”x60”)

Delaware Valley College, Doylestown, PA Delaware Valley College, 1997

American Friends of Hebrew University, New York, NY Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1997 (24”x24”)

Adas Israel Synagogue, Washington, D.C. Olive Tree, 1994 (108”x128”)

Gratz College, Melrose Park, PA Torah Ark, 1990 (96”x65”)

Website of the Artist

Biography from Caroline Dunlop Millett Gallery:
Jonathan Mandell's mosaics are on permanent display at the National Constitution Center, The National Liberty Museum, The University of Pennsylvania, Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, PA, the McGraw Hill Company in New York, Delaware Valley College in Doylestown, PA and the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Skokie, IL.

His latest public project (2013) is a 10ft x 6 ft mosaic created for the main entrance of the new Lower Merion High School in Ardmore, PA.  It details its illustrious history.

Mandell is also an adjunct professor teaching at Drexel University’s Westphal College of Media Arts. His mosaics have been featured in The Bel Aire Hotel Magazine, Glass Art Magazine and The Penn Gazette.

Mandell’s talent lies in the implementation of fundamental fine art concerns such as perspective, color composition and drawing into the medium of mosaic. Utilizing such materials as glass shards, ceramic tile, semiprecious stones, minerals, mirror, marbles, Mandell creates wall-mounted panels, which evolve into tactile paintings. His grout lines act as drawing lines, bringing his imagery to life. The glass shards are not flat, but rather are convex and concave pieces. This allows for a study of the surface topography of the mosaic.

In addition to his wall-mounted mosaics, Jonathan has a wide portfolio of sculpture mosaics.

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