Menthe Wells’ art exhibited in the United States and in Europe and Asia takes a significant place in the mainstream of collected fine art. He work is now in midcareer and can be found at the Laguna Design Center, galleries in the United States and in international public and private collections in Europe and Asia. Her work occupies a special place in modern art’s sensibilities. She works greatly influenced by synaesthetics, predominantly an American art movement, combining Abstract Expressionism with influences of natural elements. Synaesthetics emerged in the period of 1970-1985 with such American artists as Andrews who led the movement out of the Synaesthetics Department of Syracuse University. The insights of the process and neuro-psychophysical elements of this creative force were described by the Psychologist Marks at Yale University. Earlier roots of the artist’s symbolism included the Bauhaus influence in her work when she studied under Lam, who was the student of Albers and Hoffman. Menthe Wells works in a range of sizes, from enameled paintings in miniature to murals over thirty feet long and paintings exhibited in the U.S and internationally are one and two stories high in size. Other media include collage, painted collage, sculpture, watercolor, acrylic, oil painting, and printmaking.
In many of her works, the artist Menthe Wells explores a personal iconography of compositional elements such as oceans, fields, flora, shells, and leaves. Natural elements of California, in distinctive shells and western flowers, interweave with her imagery of European and Asian landscapes. The intrinsic meaning of these symbols remains reflective of how neuropsychological responses and psychophysical reaction combines within the broader interrelationship of color, sound, taste, emotional feeling, and sensory phenomena to include delight and fantasy. Perception synaesthetically conveys the taste and smells reminiscent of seasonal fragrances and serenity, lovely to experience, but devoid of the context of social realism. The paintings and prints speak softy, but the sensory feeling is eloquent.
The broad calligraphic rhythm seen in the brushwork of Menthe Wells’ larger paintings (exhibited in her European Tour on the continent in 2014) is also evidenced in her enameled paintings. In these contemporary enameled miniatures, Menthe Wells creates the theme but does not introduce texture. The work utilizes the painted techniques of her oil, acrylic, and watercolor painting. She works, instead, with the flat reflective surface of metal, which is painted using traditional painting techniques with glass powders, bonding agents, and with a kiln fired surface. The medium is crushed glass, a fine metal base of copper, and a surface of powders of color from the United States, Europe and Asia. The reflective surface is predominantly shiny and is similar to a Limoge surface, which was the evolutionary root which influenced the development of the artist’s earliest enamel paintings.
In Menthe Wells’ work, the use of distemper, a medium utilizing opaque powdered color, is combined with drypoint painting technique before kiln firing to the porcelain heat range. The colors are blended and given washes of transparent color, reproducing nature thematically. In contrast to the earlier influence of the Limoge technique, the paintings and their surfaces now have a visual newness. These works include influences of fragments of oriental rugs viewed in international travels to Morocco and other loom creating areas of North Africa, nature in Asia, forests, beaches and life in France, Spain and the United Kingdom. In a recent evolutionary form, limited edition prints from the miniatures form a visual thematic catalog.
An earlier time period in the evolution of expression included sculpture which formed the core of museum and gallery events. The events at the Wadsworth Atheneum went through a metamorphosis from being written for galleries and museums, and from audience participation in the events, to television. They changed in the process to the production of children’s plays written in television segment format. This was part of Menthe Wells’ early work in the Wadsworth Atheneum’s outreach on a CBS network that reached three states. Menthe Wells wrote the events which emerged from Happenings, then new plays, and created the animated sculpture, which was monumental and which towered her size. She performed and directed the plays for the segments. Later, she adapted the segment format for other performance events continued in galleries and museums, which included a Roundabout Theatre event and training programs for school districts, and museum programs of teacher training in New York City. Other performance events included children, her college art students and musicians from the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. Some events were featured at The Farmington Valley Art Center, and the Ellsworth Gallery, and the Wadsworth Atheneum. Other events were at the Tucson Art Institute, Family Focus on the Arts, University of Hartford, The Hartford Seminary Foundation, and Saint Joseph’s College.
Earlier influences on the development of Menthe Well’s style came from living in New Orleans and the deep south, and prior to that growing up in New York City – years which were filled with a museum life of painting and drawing. Her teens centered on learning painting technique both through formal study and through co-painting in the production of a group of paintings some of which she was the key subject for as both an artist and a model featured at the Crespi Gallery’s exhibits in New York City. As a small child she had a featured day at MOMA painting expressively with two brushes. Menthe Wells worked in graphic design and innovation on a book and in commercial art which included production for an Editor of a newspaper using a unique synthesis of design aesthetics. She also worked on the Apollo space mission, subsequently producing derivative work.
Website of Artists who use synaesthesia:
Menthe Wells is listed as a synesthete artist with Van Gogh and with Hockney 2012-2015