The Nancy Margolis Gallery is pleased to announce the first solo-exhibition of Los Angeles artist Mel Kadel, opening Thursday April 16 through May 30. In Sun Days, Kadel will be exhibiting her works on paper, featuring seventeen large, medium and small scale pen and ink drawings on a combination of found paper, vintage book pages, and thick, coffee-stained watercolor paper.
Over the years, and through hundreds of drawings, Mel Kadel has created a heroine with an engrossing running storyline. She faces curious adventures, fantastical challenges and daunting tasks. Wading, waist-deep, through an ink spill, canoeing through a backyard ocean or balancing thousands of diamond shaped rocks on the tip of one finger, Kadel’s heroine retains an expression of fierce determination through it all.
Kadel, drawn to patterns, and repetitious mark making, surrounds her characters with landscapes/backgrounds that seem both endlessly vast and disarmingly finite. Kadel’s technique is unusual, using vintage and stained paper; deftly cut and layered she creates texture and depth in a seamless fashion. On swaths of rich paper, with delicate ink lines, repeated peaked ocean waves, or wallpaper-like patterns, Kadel’s characters seem entrenched in a world between imagination and reality.
The sense of the absurd is also evident in her titles. Word play and quirky turns of phrase poke fun at both the viewer and artist. ‘Small Escape’ depicts many versions of the heroine diving towards one small hole on the page. In ‘Spacing Out’ the main character is in outer space, hitching rides behind, and on top of gliding planets; ‘Personal Trophy’ mounts the heroine atop a pedestal high above a striped mountain range. Kadel’s perspective suspends preconceived associations and allows for provocative extensions of the narrative.
Mel Kadel, raised in Pennsylvania, received her B.F.A. from Moore College of Art & Design. After living in New York for several years, she moved to Los Angeles where she now lives and works. Kadel’s work has been exhibited across the country and can be found in the collections of notables such as: Shepard Fairey, Harrison Ford, Sheryl Crow, Mick Fleetwood and Jason Lee.
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