Wednesday, March 28, 2012

DAVID MITCHELL – Photography
501 West 23rd Street New York, NY 10011
(212) 206-6872
Exhibition runs thru May 5
Jim Kempner Fine Art presents the inaugural solo exhibition in the United States for photographer, David Mitchell.  Director, Dru Arstark has curated a selection of photographs from several bodies of work completed between 2008 and 2011 representative of the artist’s atmospheric oeuvre and non-objective abstracts.  
    Linear No.3, C-print, 2008
    32 x 32 inches (image size 24 x 24 inches) Edition of 7
    44 x 44 inches (images size 36 x 36 inches) Edition of 5

The Linear and Anamnesis works representative of the atmospheric works may be largely influenced by aura occurrences associated with Left Temporal Lobe Epilepsy (LTLE), however the understanding of such is not necessary to appreciate the pure aesthetic beauty of this work. Displacement, anamnesis, place, memory recollection and a wish for sanctuary are all relevant to this work whereas the more recent hard-edged minimal Abstracts 2010/2011 also included in the exhibition are purely based non-objective image making following the rudiments of 20th century Concretism.

With regards to neurological influences and particularly LTLE, Mitchell affirms the perception and perspective becomes distorted and there strangely can be a sensation of a third party presence as if there is something almost “alive” in the scene before during and after seizures.

The Linear series is about sanctuary; it’s safe on the inside from the viewer’s perspective, a room - a window, which belongs to the self, the double mirror, the keyhole, and the see and not be seen. And the view beyond is also a place of safety and gentleness, a transition between the inner places we create and the outside world that we crave for; a simplicity, a softness, a kind introduction to the physical beyond the machinery of consciousness—the simple wish of mind.
    Anamnesis No.7, pigment print, 2009
    32 x 80 inches (image size 24 x 72) Edition of 3
    42 x 116 inches (image size 36 x 108) Edition of 2

Additionally (Déjà vu or paramnesia), where a situation seems familiar and in contrast (Jamais-vu or anamnesia), where the familiar becomes alien are relative feelings that can be very strong, very personal, and although disorienting can present a blissful experience more than a frightening one which one might expect of seizures. It is this phenomenon which is the inspiration for the Anamnesis collection (Anamnesis No. 7 exhibiting). “Colors become language-like, as though there is a heightened sense of subtle separation where you can almost read them in tone and graduation. Aside from the altered visual experience, sound may become distorted as well. Local sounds become blanketed as if in a film clip where actual audio has been overlaid or replaced with a soundtrack enhancing the aesthetic experience; distant sounds may become amplified as though nearby.” ads Mitchell.
   AB 053
    32 x 32 inches (image size 24 x 24 inches) - Edition of 7
    44 x 44 inches (image size 36 x 36 inches) - Edition of 5
    56 x 56 inches (image size 48 x 48 inches) - Edition of 3
In the more recent, non-objective work, where the atmospheric quality of the earlier work is replaced with details and definition, Mitchell imposes current technological advancements in the medium and establishes a new personal archetype. He employs the process of creating assemblages which he photographically chronicles. His process based photographic images followthe rudiments of Concretism, a non-objective art form of the 1940’s that defied all the  norms of the Contemporary Art of its time. The central characteristic of this art movement produced works without the influence of any external factors, such as nature, people, or things. By definition, Concrete Art does not require the artist to have a definitive concept or subject.  It is about the inventive play of lines, planes, and color, forming unspecific patterns and true expression of the artist’s interest in architecture and the building and layering of materials. It is this movement which gave birth to Constructivism, Suprematism and Neo-Concretism, and Minimalism; all periods in art history which are relevant to Mitchell’s work since his departure from the commercial arena.
Much of the AB 2011 compositions are based on architecture particularly reconstructed memories of Sussex University in Brighton Hove, UK where Mitchell grew up.

This underlying influence may possibly be related to the left temporal lobe epilepsy in regards to the ongoing obsession with material objects - a phenemenon which can be associated with this condition.  Although Mitchell does not seek the re-creation or depiction of specific buildings per se, his manipulation of materials and their assemblage is an architectonic process and the building of such assemblages is a means to the end result whereby photography chronicles the process. It is the photographic print which is the art, not the creation of the material being photographed. As these assemblages are meaningless without photography to finalize the image making, they are decommissioned after the prints are made, leaving no evidence of their existence. The geometrics of the compositions dictate the palette for each image with extreme intuition.
The work is grouped in collections for aesthetic reasons but also, as the auras can be prolonged producing a set of thoughts and sensations that strongly relate to each other—an essay develops naturally. , says Mitchell.  Concepts and meanings in words that might invigorate the imagination, or perhaps for the intellect alone are explored which enhance the imagery as in the choice to title the Anamnesis collection thusly. While the experience with auras, is not always evident in the result, it is irrefutably connected in the process of creation as it is in the neurological wiring that presents a compulsive fervor to create.

Artist’s Statement:
The conventional notion that photography is about representation is/has been rejected in favor of pure abstraction. The images themselves along with the process of image making are the subject rather than the depiction of something identifiable. Whether working on the atmospheric images or the more hard-edge aesthetic, my motivation is consistent and I don’t anticipate one oeuvre replacing the other. These dichotomous areas of interest will each continue to develop as will new directions as time progresses.

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