Samantha Mitchell: Land Forms
Arcadia Exhibitions is pleased to announce the exhibition “Samantha Mitchell: Land Forms” on view in the Harrison Gallery from August 29 – December 3, 2023.
The show will consist of works on paper and panel from the past seven years depicting Mitchell’s recollections of landforms she has experienced and documented through a deliberate, meditative buildup of small repetitive marks using ink, watercolor, graphite, and colored pencil.
Central to the artist’s practice is the idea that the process of remembering is a creative act. The gorges, canyons, buttes, and horizons that appear repeatedly in these works are not reproductions of the landscapes that Mitchell has seen, but of the activity of recalling those places. The use of small, consistent lines or shapes to build these monumental forms are akin not only to the brain piecing together fragments of a distant memory, but also of the natural elements like wind, water, heat, and pressure that slowly form the terrain over time.
To explore these ideas Mitchell has experimented widely with both medium and scale. The largest works, measuring approximately 60 by 42 inches, such as Cordillera Highway Anticline, 2016, are paintings on paper utilizing a combination of graphite, thick and thin watercolor applications, and India ink. Smaller works on paper, such as Touching Down, 2023, are rendered in India ink or colored pencil on a toned paper. For pieces such as The Way Up, 2021, Mitchell paints on board covered with a watercolor ground made with marble dust, with her distinctive markings rendered in watercolor, gouache and ink.
According to Mitchell, the “large works on paper articulate sublime encounters with landscape on a human scale, with grid-oriented marks that reference horizons and land formations. More recent pieces – largely created at home during the COVID lockdown and concurrent with raising two young children – are smaller meditations, memories of spaces that have become physically inaccessible.”
“Samantha Mitchell: Land Forms” will be on view along with another exhibition in the University Commons, “Arcadia Collects: Art, Objects + Ephemera from the University Archives” in the Rosedale Gallery. An event celebrating both exhibitions will be held in the Great Room of the University Commons on Thursday, September 21, 2023 at 6:30 PM. The evening will begin with a lecture by Anastasia Rousseau, University Archivist, in conjunction with the “Arcadia Collects” exhibition.
Immediately following Rousseau’s talk, a reception will be held in both the Rosedale and Harrison Galleries where artist Samantha Mitchell will be available to discuss her works on paper. Both events are free and open to the public.
Mitchell will be lecturing on her work on November 6, 2023 at 4:30 in the University Commons Great Room. A reception will be held in the Harrison Gallery immediately afterward.
My work mediates impulses for order and chaos, creating a unified habitat for both. This compulsion comes from witnessing change – in memory, in the landscape, in objects, in perception – through organic processes, that are both generative and destructive. Working in the language of small, consistent marks, my process feels like chipping away, working slowly towards a larger whole.
I am seeking to communicate an embodied experience inside, on top of, and around landscapes I have known and that I think about. Mark-making becomes a form of meditation, opening a liminal space between being and remembering into being.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Samantha Mitchell is an artist, writer, and arts educator based in Philadelphia. She was born in New York City and graduated from Oberlin College in 2008. She lived and worked in Illinois, Utah, California, and Oregon before enrolling in the MFA program of Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, graduating in 2012.
Aside from her work in the studio, Mitchell is cofounder and director of THIS MUST BE THE PLACE, a publishing and curatorial project that foregrounds work by neurodivergent artists. She is the Lead Curator/Production Manager at the Center for Creative Works, a studio for adults with developmental disabilities. She worked as a managing editor for Title Magazine, a publication devoted to writing on the arts in Philadelphia, for five years, and contributes writings to Hyperallergic, The Brooklyn Rail, Sculpture Magazine, and Brut Force. Mitchell is a member of Tiger Strikes Asteroid, Philadelphia, a national collective of artist-run galleries.
Her work has been exhibited at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Gross McCleaf Gallery, Snyderman-Works, Avery Gallery, AUTOMAT, Grizzly Grizzly, Schau Fenster (Berlin) and the International Print Center (NYC), and is part of the permanent collection at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Woodmere Museum, and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.