Patricia R. Mitchell 

Artist Statement



My work is a marriage of medium and content, art and life. As an artist my history involves feminist content and printmaking as a dominant medium. Currently my interest lies in the intersection of these worlds. The mass-produced printed image has long been an integral part of the home.  Wallpaper, fabrics, kitchen items, etc. have long been part of the feminine domain. My work has investigated the dual roles inherent in the nature of printmaking, its commercial and fine art applications and the dual and sometimes contradictory roles the contemporary female faces.

 

For a long time I have been seduced by the power of the printed image. Its beauty when printed on seductive materials such as heavy, luscious plastics employed by manufacturing processes of the 50's - 60's, alas now replaced by lighter plastics (better for the environment, less sensual however). This focus of course led me to time and space. While utilizing printing and manufacturing processes naturally lends itself to multidimensional installation, it would be wrong to say I wanted to bring the printed image out into time and space, for that was its original domain. It would be more accurate to say I wanted to bring it home again. The installations I create are both artifice and real. They are about the manufacturing of nature, reality. It is terms such as the self-made man I am interested in evoking. There are no blank slates in this world, only patterns. These environments are meant to be mythopoeic. I am interested in producing the dilemma of the world in which we live.


The conceptual framework I utilize comes from the rationale that my world-views are filtered through an array of experiences at both micro and macro levels. My earliest work focused on the politics of a governing body, but I later realized to speak genuinely I needed to focus on the politics of the personal. I now find a convergence of the two worlds due in part to the contentious political environment in which we currently find ourselves and its devastating consequences if we allow the inherent complexity to lull us into a Rip Van Winkle like sleep.


The landscapes in my Jawbreaker series are guttural regurgitations of a constant bombardment and filtering of seemingly disconnected public media information and its ultimately personal implications. Each piece is visual shorthand for a larger composition. I present visual caricatures of a political landscape processed through my internal dialogue and engaged in a dance with an ongoing investigation into the power of patterns and the printed image. Patterns are symptomatic of a larger picture that both reveal and hide in acquiescence.


As a feminist artist I have long been aware of issues regarding shock and awe and approachability.  In current work I am interested in creating an atmosphere of seemingly benign, Saccharinely sweet, viewer friendly imagery. Like all landscapes, internally and externally, one must look closer to see what’s hidden. Sort of a Where’s Waldo approach. Andy Warhol proved the power of the printed image in creating icons. The Hollywood machine and political parties employ it to their advantage. It is often hard to distinguish the reality beyond the carefully constructed image. Through examination I hope to uncover what is at its core.