Brooklyn Rail Reviews Henry Mandell's SUPERUNKNOWN

Installation view: Henry Mandell: Superunknown, Anita Rogers Gallery, New York, 2023. Courtesy Anita Rogers Gallery. Photo: Andrew Toth.

Henry Mandell knows the subsurface teems with vitality. In his debut exhibition at Anita Rogers Gallery, the painter draws upon the interconnected qualities of mycelium as a grounding agent for a remarkable body of work. Mycelium is the fungal network of thread-like structures that ramify and interlace a thousand-fold connection to the roots of trees and other vegetation in forests. For Mandell, there is a strong analogy between the mycelial system and the world wide web. The artist’s recent body of work capitalizes on the exploration of this interconnectedness.

There is not a wall that isn’t put to use in the gallery, though the exhibition does not feel overhung. This is because the paintings maintain a steady energetic level that gives the show an even tone, regardless of the different material characteristics of the artworks. Mandell’s colors operate on equal wavelengths: wherever they fall on the spectrum, their lightness and brightness remain consistent. It’s a necessary containment, as Mandell’s line work is supremely expansive and multilayered.