Jeffry Mitchell

Becoming American: August 1-Septemenber 22, 2018.
1 ROOM: August 2018, A special exhibition at The Avalara Hawk Tower during the Seattle Art Fair.
Treasure Island: Beyond and back and more. June 23 - August 12, 2017 Alfred Harris, Ken Kelly and Jeffry Mitchell

Well versed in traditions of stoneware and ceramic from around the globe, Jeffry Mitchell combines references to Early American glazes, Pennsylvania Dutch pickle jars, asymmetrical Japanese aesthetic decisions and Chinese Foo Dogs within a conceptual practice that seeks to engage what he calls a shared human experience. Gesturing  towards a universal relatability to clay as well as a repeated set of imagery that he returns to again and again as talismans or icons, Mitchell's seemingly playful language touches on innocence, banality, and the hidden meaning implicit in pre-AIDS era life.

Mitchell earned his BA in painting from the University of Dallas and holds an MFA in Printmaking from Temple University.  Recent solo exhibitions include projects at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, Pullman, WA (2018), Studio e, Seattle (2017), Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco (2016), PDX Contemporary Art, Portland, OR (2016) and Morgan Lehman, New York (2015). His work has been included in BC to BC, San Diego Art Institute (2017), Riffs, Photographic Center Northwest, Seattle (2016) Genius at the Frye Art Museum, Seattle (2015), Unorthodox, Jewish Museum, New York (2015) and the Detroit City and People’s Biennial, Detroit (2014).

A site-specific commission, Jeffry Mitchell’s The Untold Want responds to the history of the English Camp’s hospital as a historic site for intimate human suffering, care and pathos. Although never used as a combat hospital, Mitchell connected the original condition of the building to a history of war hospitals, such as those experience by American Poet Walt Whitman, who served as a nurse during the Civil War. Mitchell’s shelving mimics antebellum baroque wooden structures, here housing ceramic limbs—hands reaching, fists clenching, and arms bent—that elicit a pathos for the human lives that passed through the space, while also reiterating Mitchell’s recurrent motifs of the body in fragments and the porous and vulnerable nature of embodied gesture and sensuality.   -Fionn Meade


Jeffry Mitchell’s recent print, Blake’s Lion, 2018, captures an exuberant pathos emblematic of his larger practice as a sculptor and installation artist. Echoing both the beleaguered lion that’s been forever-exiled to circus grounds but also Mitchell’s more explicit nod to William Blake’s watercolor study Dante running from the Three Beasts (1824), this is a lion somewhat at a loss. Not sure which pose to strike, Mitchell’s beast chooses to exist in between the Christian agape of mouth-open wonder and a more bemused bafflement. In short, the lion meant to depict worldly ambition allegorically has knowingly let the exiled Florentine get past to tell his tale, empathetic to the poet’s long journey ahead.  
-Fionn Meade

Blake’s Lion