The following information was provided by the artist unless otherwise noted.
Russell Mehlman is a native New Yorker, born in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (01/01/46). His oil and gouache paintings are small, and have been described as intense and intimate. Mehlman, who is self-taught, likes to paint people, real and imagined, alone and in groups.
Mehlman began painting at age 30, after an entrepreneurial career in mail order advertising and book publishing. He began showing in 1993. Today he is an award-winning artist who has exhibited throughout the US.
Wayne Lempka described Mehlman's work in the Poughkeepsie Journal (10/10/97) as "...intimate looks into the emotional lives of people as they go about their daily existence."
Helen Harrison wrote in the New York Times (11/21/99) that his "...images combine the reductive treatment of everyday surroundings with more nuanced handling of facial expressions to create an air of psychological tension."
Richard Huntington of the Buffalo News (9/1/95), on the painting Repressed Memory (above), wrote: "He seems a canny artist and yet exhibits the odd distortions of the folk artist. The mood...is one of low-level horror (the couple is after all doing something weird to that baby), the kind of dread that surrealists saw in everyday life. But the allusion to a folk art innocence magnifies the emotions of the scene, giving the figures the calm weight and conviction of Giotto's tragic figures."
In describing his work, Mehlman prefers the terms: Naive, Modern Primitive, or Urban Folk Art.
Regina Stewart, Executive Director