Hello New Work by Meghan Mitchell
Ink, Graphite & Pigment on Paper
September 19th – November 13th 2013
Hello is an exploration of one woman’s quest to share her rich inner monologue and myriad selves. A collection of two-dimensional drawings and interactive installation come together in this lighthearted exhibition. Meghan translates comedy, anxiety, and beauty into delicate line and unbounded sincerity. Inspired by zines, comics, and certain trappings of childhood this work is sure to pluck the double knotted strings in the cedar paneled basement of each grown up child’s heart. Humans spend most of their lives explaining to each other who they are and how they see the world. If these are the only eyes I’ll ever see through and this brain is the only way I’ll interpret that information then this perspective is the only one I can try to express. Each of us is the shining center of our own universe, around which float all of the important elements of our lives. Each day I wake up as a new person, a new incarnation of myself. I am all of my experiences and knowledge and feelings compacted into one goofy little package.Each day I am a little bit more than the day before.
Hello brings together my many selves. Hello was funded in part by the Tacoma Arts Commission. Meghan Mitchell is an avid reader, gardener, listener, and artist. Born in Tacoma and raised in Purdy, Washington, Meghan is an alumna of the Tacoma School of the Arts and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in printmaking from the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Oregon.
Meghan Mitchell says ‘Hello’
Review by Sean Alexander
Meghan Mitchell’s new show at Fulcrum Gallery is a darling mini. Comprised of eight modest drawings and a cozy tent installation, the aptly titled ‘Hello’ is the artist’s humble attempt at sharing the complexities of consciousness and the quiet loss of childhood. The drawings are lighthearted and rest gently on the page. The tent stands tall in the corner, softly mothering over the drawings. This show is genuine, and non-abrasive; the way a ‘Hello’ should be. In her statement, Mitchell describes the work as a “quest to share her rich inner monologue and myriad selves” but it could be argued that these drawings do as strong of a job disguising the self as they do sharing. The drawings consistently depict a woman in hiding, whether in shelter or costume. Two of the drawings depict the artist disappearing completely. In ‘Ruptured’, a huddle of clothing and clogs is pictured with stardust rising from it. This same dust-imitating line work appears floating away from a tent in “Flight from Midgard”. These disappearances are humorous in that they function as a sort of anti-self portrait. Two lovely, curvaceous drawings depict the artist in costume, titled ‘Space Cadet’ and ‘Green Thumb’. The ‘Space Cadet’ is wearing a form fitting bodysuit with a star pattern that mimics the night sky. She is waving at the viewer as if to say ‘look at me’. The companion drawing is titled ‘Green Thumb’ and depicts the artist wearing the same hip hugging bodysuit but in a mossy green pattern. She is facing away with her arms nervously crossed behind her back, trying to blend in with the background. These two drawings are the strongest in the show, highlighting Mitchell’s good eye for design and direct communication skills. The other drawings in the show include a pair of whimsical drawings of the artist taking on the likeness of a furry animal caught up in the mundaneness of domestic life, a self-conscious floating head and an idyllic childhood fort. All of the drawings are nicely realized but Mitchell is most successful when dealing with the human form. Anchoring the exhibit is ‘Valhalla Rising’, a patterned tent installation housing a small television, a Super Nintendo, several zines and some animal magazines. It was a nice idea to build a fort-like structure in a show that featured drawings of them but the enterable installation (especially the tent) is a bit of an overdone show feature at this point. On top of that, it was a bit disappointing that the only game available to play on the SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System) was the incredibly dull, borderline abysmal Super Bomberman. Where was Ken Griffey Baseball? Secret of Mana? Pilot Wings? Any game other than Bomberman would have been an improvement. Overall, this show marks a good step forward for Mitchell. ‘Hello’ is her first Solo gallery installation in Tacoma and a successful departure from her past obsessions with airy abstraction and hands. The future holds good things for this budding artist as long as she continues to challenge herself and focus on her strength: drawing. ** (Sidetone: Fulcrum gallery continues to be the only consistently interesting gallery in Tacoma with its tradition of showing diverse work made by diverse people. We should be supporting this place regularly and often.) -Sean