Portraits by Mendelson Joe
“[Mendelson Joe] paints with more emotion than almost any other painter in the country. It comes through blazingly in the colours of his ‘Working Women’ series.” — Toronto Star In the words of Mendelson Joe: “My purpose in my work, any of it from song to essay to picture, is to tell the truth and it seems that most truth ain’t couth. Inequality bugs me. Prejudice bugs me. And, I’ve long believed that women are the only hope for this ever-degrading organism that mothered us all. So, in 1982, I began to paint portraits of women. The purpose was to document women in the context of their job descriptions, so the pictures showed them as working folks as opposed to sexual objects.” For years, Mendelson Joe has been painting portraits of women, some of them prominent (Anna Banana, Doris Anderson, Irshad Manji, June Callwood, Jane Siberry), and some less so. Along with faithful reproductions of the original paintings, Joe has added his own brand of particular comments about the subject and the sessions.
Mendelson Joe’s career began with Mendelson McKenna Mainline, and then took a painterly turn. Known today as a musician, artist, anti-smoker, and ecological gadfly, Joe continues to surprise with his political attitude and outspoken opinions.