Anthony Mead is an artist and educator living in Lexington, KY, and working as the Director of the Morlan Gallery and faculty in Studio Art at Transylvania University in the areas of printmaking and graphic design. Mead received his Master of Fine Arts at Arizona State University in 2019 and his Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2010 from Kendall College of Art and Design following studies abroad at Florence School of Fine Arts. Also, in 2010, he co-founded Dinderbeck, a community artist and printmaking studio, in Grand Rapids, MI. Mead has exhibited nationally and internationally, presented on topics such as the role of digital technology in printmaking and arts education and the history of printmaking at museums and national conferences and taught classes at Transylvania University, University of Kentucky, Arizona State University and Kendall College of Art and Design in the fields of printmaking, graphic design and art foundations. Mead’s work focuses on concepts related to the universal elements of the human condition such as the use of fire, trade, and the chemical composition of the body and how these relate to human origins, societal development, identity, ecology, and responsibility.
Life is a series of relationships. Through the action of engaging in a relationship the impact changes who we are, how we experience the world around us, and future actions we make. The foundation of my work explores how the tools we use as humans impact our shared habitat along with our psychology and physiology. We are part of a shared ecology that extends through time, for good or ill. The choices we make have long standing implications on everything from the size of our brains, the health of water in and outside of our bodies, and how we exchange essential resources.
The installations, created with the techniques of printmaking, painting, papermaking and sculpture, incorporate familiar elements such as burnt wood, paper currency, and spices, materials that transform and change identities through physical and material actions. My heavy use of texture and pattern is influenced by the repetitive forms or patterns found throughout human cultures and natural environments. These are found in everything from camouflage to spiritual ritual, to cultural adornment. Often my use of pattern is derived from the growth structures of tree canopies under ideal conditions as dictated by the Constructal Law of physics. These are then stenciled directly onto the gallery walls, similar to our ancestors creating images on cave walls, the final outcome resulting in repeated images filled with diverging rivulets that grow and decay.
In all of my work, a great interest and intent is placed on materiality and how we understand the world by navigating a relationship between ourselves and materials. The kind of emphasis and importance we place on shredded U.S. currency formed into paper, then chainmail or the ash of paper that once held someone’s wish. By understanding the meaning of materials, whether projected or inherent, we can start to understand interconnected relationships more broadly.
In all of my work, the content sits at the intersection of the often-felt separation between what it is to be human and what it is to be natural, oddly different and oddly the same. We so frequently place things into categories or refine them down that they become so isolated into its parts that we no longer see it for what it is, a contextual relationship, dependent on its parts synthesizing together to give it existence and being, the same way that we, as humans, are a series of contextual relationships dependent on the ecological structure we are part of to exist and continue to maintain our being.