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by Gideon Mendel

September 6 - November 3, 2018

GALLERY HOURS: Wednesday - Saturday: 11am - 5pm

Gallery will be closed Wednesday, September 26 - Friday, September 28.

Silver Street Studios, 2000 Edwards St, Houston, TX 77007


Gideon Mendel, Greg and Lois Hochhauser, Rancho Bauer Drive, Memorial Neighborhood, 
Houston, Texas,
 September 2017. From the series Drowning World.

Gideon Mendel explores the human dimension of climate change by focusing on floods across geographical and cultural boundaries. By highlighting the personal impact of flooding he evokes our vulnerability to global warming questioning our sense of stability in the world.

The work began in 2007, when Mendel photographed floods in the UK and in India within weeks of each other. He was deeply struck by the contrasting impact of these events, and the shared experiences of those affected. Since then he has endeavoured to travel to flood zones around the world visiting Haiti (2008), Pakistan (2010), Australia (2011), Thailand (2011), Nigeria (2012), Germany (2013), The Philippines (2013), The UK  (2014), India (2014), Brazil (2015), Bangladesh (2015), the USA (2015 and 2017) and France (2016 and 2018).

As the work progressed photographing floods became both a literal and allegorical means of documenting the tension between the personal and the global effects of climate change. Each location added has intensified the narrative impact of the endeavour.

The work consists of four parallel and connected narrative elements:

This five channel video installation is the culmination of the video element of Drowning World, incorporating all of its narrative elements and exploring the tension between the frozen photographic moment and the perpetual movement and uncertainty of dystopian, post-flood environments. It depicts a variety of individual stories, positioned with a synchronously edited global narrative in a way that is both personally intimate and deeply political. In all his years of responding to floods he has shot a vast archive of footage in eleven different countries, which is fully activated in this presentation.

Submerged Portraits:
This set of intimate portraits of flood victims is at the core of the project. Mendel’s subjects address the camera looking out from their devastated environments and inundated homes. The poses may seem conventional but their confrontational gazes challenge us to consider their context of catastrophe across cultures and time Temporal. Coming from disparate parts of the world they reveal their linked exposure to climate change despite vast differences in lives and circumstances

Flood Lines:
This series records the physical incursion of rising water through intimate living quarters and public spaces, presenting a paradox of order and calm in the invasive presence of the repeated line drawn by floodwater indoors and outdoors—through intimate living quarters, public spaces, and landscapes turned liquid. The precise reflected symmetry of these photographs is disconcerting given the chaotic circumstances in which they were created.

This is a collection of flood-damaged personal snapshots, sometimes anonymous flotsam fished from the water or mud, sometimes given to Mendel by homeowners. The impact of floods, chemical interaction with water—ironically, essential to developing photographs—has transformed these private moments into metaphors of our exposure to environmental disorder. Through the act of selecting, positioning and sometimes enlarging these fragments, he amplifies them as artworks, presenting them as an archive of private moments surrendered to climate change, a depiction of archaeological memory.

DELUGE is exhibited concurrently with the exhibition SEEING HARVEY: Personal Histories. Public Responses. a community response project featuring photographs from both professional photojournalists, and the general public, of the storm, its aftermath, and the recovery.



Gideon Mendel, The Home of David Lim, Rancho Bauer Drive, Memorial Neighborhood, 
Houston, Texas,
 September 2017. From the series Drowning World.

Houston Endowment Inc.; The Brown Foundation, Inc.; City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance; David and Martha Moore; National Endowment for the Arts; Phillip and Edith Leonian Foundation; The Wortham Foundation; Texas Commission on the Arts; Judith and Gamble Baldwin; The Powell Foundation; FotoFest Board of Directors; Silver Street Studios; Hexagroup; Iland Internet Solutions; and generous donors to the FotoFest Challenge Grant.

Special Support for SEEING HARVEY and DELUGE
Bayou Fine Art Imaging; Robert and Heather Westendarp; Saint Arnold Brewing Company; and Total Wine & More.

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