Gendel makes conceptualized portraits that fuse historical figures with friends and found images. Each painting explores the process of digging out the human form from other portraits, while simultaneously mining abstraction. Fluid identities are created and question the disconnect between our views of each other and ourselves.
Like time-lapse mirrors, Gendel layers loose image upon loose image, in a method that spawns ever-shifting identities. This accumulation creates psychological states that waver between quiet and stormy, pensive and brash, echoing a battle between ego and disappearance.
The paintings evoke the passage of time, both in building the figures and quoting past styles. Rot, featuring a young woman in profile, evokes an old master painting, dirty and decayed. In a case of changing identities, what began as a painting of Andrew Jackson, morphs into a woman (Ms. A. W. Jackson). Men and women, alone or merged, seem caught in a shifting pictorial space. Ghosts of portraits and other artists haunt Gendel’s paintings. As William Faulkner once said, “The past isn’t dead. In fact, it’s not even past”.