Jason Mehl is a Dallas-based sculptor currently in the middle of an exhibit of new works, “Intuitive Geometry,” at his studio in Oak Cliff which runs through December 5th. From climbing mountains in South Korea and Indonesia, to facing floods in Costa Rica, to backpacking alone in Western Canada, Jason gathered artifacts that he felt drawn to during his travels. He ultimately returned to Dallas and created a series of sculptures inspired by the people and places he’s crossed paths with across the world, sculptures inspired heavily by the transformational power of nature.
A self-taught artist, Jason has a degree in environmental science, and his passion for nature resonates in his work. From a young age, he spent days living in the wilderness, which eventually led to an insatiable need to immerse himself in nature alone for weeks or months at a time in his adult life. Disappearing for months at a time did not fare well with former employers and professors, but surviving Lyme Disease as well as almost losing a leg in India and the most painful type of insect bite in the world from the bullet ant, only made Jason long for more adventure. Eventually, the young environmental scientist did what he had to do in order to satisfy his adventurous and creative appetite, become a full-time sculptor.
Thriving off challenging environments and situations, Jason molded sculptures of all shapes and sizes, some 14 feet in height, for “Intuitive Geometry.” He doesn’t find and display unaltered found objects, but creates ambiguous, composite forms based on the intuitive geometry of nature. Most of his works are comprised of bronze and ceramic; however he also incorporates wood, glass, rope and sometimes even found objects into the pieces. The overwhelming size of some of his works was an intentional move by Jason, as he aims for the viewer to feel the full impact that nature can have on a person. Believing that most people overlook the beauty of nature on a smaller scale, through items like found stones and fossils, he hopes to inspire awe with large-scale sculptures heavily inspired by those same objects.
“The mechanics of what I do are never the same; I’m constantly exploring a piece as I make it,” says Jason. “If I discover something like a shadow line that catches my eye, I try to carry it through the process and have it become part of the final form.”
Sculpting these forms is a cyclic process of addition and subtraction for Jason, an act of observation – building up and tearing down. He is prone to breaking down his own work and transforming entire sculptures into new forms, as if they’re reborn through the process. As a former environmental scientist, he understands the different ways in which natural processes produce forms that appeal to the artist inside him. Jason is able to render objects based on the tacit formulas of ratio, scale and balance that exist by a set of natural rules seen every time we observe the world outside.
“Much like Suiseki, an entire art form of stone appreciation in the Tang Dynasty centered around the fact that they believed rocks were the bones of the world, my sculptures are meditative tools to reconnect people with an environment that’s becoming increasingly distant due to the confines of manufactured spaces and schedules,” says Jason. “Some of the pieces with architectural elements go further to describe an oppositional relationship between humankind and the natural world as a force that is somewhere between an offensive and defensive action.”
Some of Jason’s other new works were recently exhibited at the 2015 Houston Fine Arts Fair and his sculptures are currently a part of the Seven-State BIENNIAL, judged by renowned sculptor James Surls, at Nesbitt Gallery, Charles B. Goddard Center and Museum of the Red River in Oklahoma. Jason will also be a part of a group exhibition titled, “Speaking Silence” on view from Sunday, Nov. 1 through Thursday, Dec. 3 at Gallery Shoal Creek in Austin, Texas. A springtime solo show of Jason’s smaller sculptures and works will be on view from Saturday, April 16 to Saturday, May 28 at JM Gallery in Dallas, located at One Arts Plaza.
Jason Mehl Studio
(DNA Project Space)
1339 Plowman Avenue
Dallas, Texas 75203
Hours: Monday through Friday by appointment only. Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
By Elaine Krackau