(Left to right): Big Tree, 1988, cedar, 101.63 x 30 x 30 in.; and Reverse Stump, 1995, wood, pipe, mending plates, and threaded rod, 92 x 67 x 65 in. Photo: Frank E. Graham, Courtesy the artist

Turning Things Inside Out: A Conversation with Mel Kendrick

Mel Kendrick’s forte is making new things. As a student, beginning in 1971, he studied with Tony Smith and Robert Morris at Hunter College in New York and worked for Dorothea Rockburne. He also became friends with Mel Bochner, Sol LeWitt, and Robert Smithson at Max’s Kansas City. Kendrick assimilated their discourse as he honed his own work. Over five decades, his sculptures have evolved in unique directions, exploring the properties of wood, rubber, and most recently, concrete, while laying bare the process of making. The works that result from his endless experimentation double as meditations on the nature (and history) of sculpture, finding new ways to approach formal oppositions such as inside and outside, positive and negative, organic and geometric, and nature and culture. Kendrick’s retrospective “Seeing Things in Things,” which debuted at the Addison Gallery of American Art last year, travels to the Parrish Art Museum this fall.

Jan Garden Castro: Could you discuss the interiority of your sculpture?
Mel Kendrick:
Using the interior? Seeing the interior? It started as a joke. I never quite understood all that Henry Moore talk about negative space, but I decided to make my own negative space by removing part of whatever I was working with . . .

. . . Subscribe to print and/or digital editions of Sculpture to read the full article.