Will Mentor | American, born 1958
Will Mentor received his BFA at the Rhode Island School of Design and arrived on the New York art scene in the early 1980’s, gaining instant success for what critics referred to as his “Neo-surrealist” abstract oil paintings. Dividing his time between New York and a farm in Iowa, Mentor became interested in the spectacle of consumerism and the business of agriculture. His recent works explore these notions through geometric abstractions of bar codes colour-coded with agribusiness logos. Mentor’s concern with agriculture as a product of labor, biochemistry and industry influences not only the subject of his paintings, but also the way he makes them. His computer-maniputed, hand-painted images of barcodes are analogous to the interaction between humans and machines. For the past twenty years Mentor has been making paintings, prints, and, more recently, digital animations that explore the relationship between authentic and mediated experience in contemporary image making. His lithographs seek out a new pictorial and psychological space by exploring the intersections of botanical illustrations, to-do lists, phone message pads, and diaries.