Artist Review: Daevid Mendivil

I was recently commissioned (wearing my freelance writing hat) to write a review of the work of the young New York City based multi-disciplined artist Daevid Mendivil.  His disciplines include dance, painting, photography, film & design.

As a dancer, Daevid Mendivil moved to New York City to study the French curriculum at Studio Maestro (now Manhattan Youth Ballet) under the direction and mentoring of Francois Perron. He is not only proficient in classical ballet, but also in jazz, ballroom and contemporary movement.

As an artist engaging with multiple disciplines myself, the task of researching and writing this review was a very pleasant one.  I can hardly call it work!  I was particularly interested in finding where and how Daev’s various disciplines come together and overlap at this stage in his career.

He’s given me permission to reproduce my review here, of which he kindly wrote:

Wow Ann!! I love it! You use such beautiful words! I can tell you know exactly what you are writing about and are well classically trained. Feel free to use images of ur choosing for when you post it or submit it.

Here’s my review. The above vid is a compilation of David’s experimental short films and includes Look Closer which I mention in my review. This, and various videos of Daev as dancer is on Daev’s You Tube Channel.

Daevid Mendivil Daevid Mendivil, Activator

In Daevid Mendivil is a young man who, standing on the threshold of an open door, sees many artistic paths before him.  Each is pristine; he knows each is his alone to take or leave. He wants them all, so he sets off to explore a little way, first one, then another, finding their inner networks, their networks in common. ‘Multi-disciplinarian’ doesn’t adequately describe his approach: Daev is an ‘activator’ of paths, engaging with them with his whole curiosity and body.  Daev’s activational approach is like that of a bird exploring snow to find food. The bird has learnt how to activate the spaces of its domain – to fly, to land, to hop – to find sustenance; as it moves about it leaves behind it the accidental patterns of its footprints.  

Daev has chosen, so far in his young career, to activate the path of dance and its inner labyrinths, such as ballet, jazz, ballroom. His engagement with the path of movie-making is not voyeuristic: he places himself in the frame, recording himself activating spaces. In his work ‘Look Closer’, for instance, he activates a space at a table, a bench, a bicycle. His activation of the bicycle might be read as a nod back the Futurists and their preoccupation with mechanical motion and speed, except that the bicycle resists the ‘pas de deux’ and Daev sets to with knees and teeth and elbows – anything! – to get the bicycle to dance with him, and in doing so, he brings new shapes – a new dance – out of his body. In his experimental clip ‘ Obama Say No’ Daev’s hands, his fingers are dancing. They itch and scratch, exploring and activating the very air

Soft Flower

Soft Flower

In his painting, Daev’s brush is like his dancer’s foot en pointe, but dipped in paint, it is like a hopping bird, making patterns on the ‘snow’ of a blank canvas or computer screen. His simple drawings of single flowers are tutu’ed dancers striving for the ‘arabesque penchée’. In his photographic portraits, Daev’s foot is a camera, from which light drips to dance across a face, activating its shadows: a pas de deux of light and shade between a photographer and his subject.  

Across the disciplines Daev is activating, there is this common denominator of light and shade, which is about revealing that which is there but needs exposing. Obviously so in his photography and movie-making, it is perhaps, as an over-arching theme, embryonic at present, but is hinted at in a video of Daev performing the Grand Pas de Deux; the shadows of himself and his partner’s bodies merge, separate, merge across the backdrop of a painted landscape. A second dance is exposed, a second related yet different reality that is almost more mesmerising than the ‘real’ performance.

When Daev writes about his artistic explorations – the patterns he makes with his body – on his blog, he reveals himself in expressions like “… getting his hands on ‘anything artistic’”. This is Daev not as an artistic butterfly flitting between disciplines, or to continue the metaphor – bird hopping in the snow, dropping accidental patterns from his feet – Daev explores with his whole body, his whole curiosity, his whole mind and soul, each of the artistic paths onto which he dances and from the patterns he drops from his feet, he is finding his themes.

Ann Isik

Daevid Mendivil:

If you enjoyed the above and would like me to review your work, do please get in touch, initially via my comments page.


About AnnIsikArts

Artist/Writer/Chess Enthusiast/Musician (Singer)/Gardener
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