Zoë Mendelson BA, MA, PhD

Job Title:

Head of Painting & Printmaking


Painting & Printmaking


Zoë Mendelson



Zoë Mendelson

Dr Zoë Mendelson is an artist and writer with an expanded field practice that owes its spatialisation, historical narratives and compositional framework to painting. Her work incorporates animation, collage, drawing, installation, painting, performance and fiction writing. She engages collation as a methodological framework for creating networks between psychoanalytic theory, psychotherapeutic practice, spatial theory, fine art and critical practice. Her work includes various forms of writing (fiction and non-fiction), painting, collage, drawing, hand-driven animation and installation.

Zoë Mendelson's specific research interests as an artist are focused on disorder - in psychological terms - as a culturally produced phenomenon, in parallel to its clinical and spatial counterparts. She is interested in how culture co-opts psychological and medical motifs and spectacularises them, leading to complex and widespread mis-readings. This has led her to produce artworks in direct response to imagery produced or used within medicine itself - particularly in diagnostics.

Funded projects include a Wellcome Trust Art Award for ‘This Mess is a Place’, which focused on the psychopathology of hoarding at its intersection with rationalised collection. Mendelson’s PhD, at Central Saint Martins (2015), was titled Psychologies and Spaces of Accumulation: The hoard as collagist methodology (and other stories). This research located and spatialised systematised archiving alongside seemingly pathological object relations, and included relationships drawn between urban space and wellness.

In 2015 Zoë was a selected member of the AHRC/Wellcome Trust funded New Generations programme for researchers in the Medical Humanities at the University of Durham. She has made works that consider the clinic as cultural site; histories of hygiene; wellness and the city, our relationships to waste, and commerce as a viral metaphor.

Zoë co-curates the network paintingresearch with Geraint Evans and and is co-founder and editor of The Edit, an online and inclusive, de-canonised bibliography for students in Fine Art and related fields, now used in Arts education internationally.

Mendelson’s work has been shown/performed regularly nationally and internationally in public and commercial spaces. These have included Fondation Cartier, Paris (2005), Chapter, Cardiff (2006), CRAC, Alsace (2008), Barbican Centre, London (2015), Kunstmuseum Olten, Switzerland (2015) and Science Museum London (2018). Her writings on painting in the expanded field include a catalogue essay for Fully Awake (2019) and forthcoming chapter with Tom Cardwell and Geraint Evans, ’Painting as Technology’ in Teaching Painting: Painting the New (2021, Cambridge Scholars Press). In 2021 she will present research into relationships drawn between expanded field art practice and viral behaviours.

Zoë has a profound interest in ill-being as a place of potential agency and advocacy - at odds with a current focus on well-being as a ‘success’ narrative.