18 May 2011


exhibition: sam mitchell

Story by Renee Tanner

Playful subject matter with dark undertones define the artist’s exhibition of new works.

Opening this evening at Melanie Roger Gallery is an exhibition of an artist I have grown to love. Sam Mitchell’s provocative paintings feature playful yet often dark subject matter, curator Hanna Scott best describes Sam’s work…

“Borrowing the visual style of kids’ comics and cartoons, Mitchell’s provocative paintings often have playful or dark subject matter. The underworld of tattoos is a visual language that Mitchell also borrows from. With a knack of pitching uncanny combinations and elements together, Mitchell’s works are delicately and deftly painted but often have a seething undercurrent that takes you by surprise. Her virtuoso polite-society painting and sweet-as-pie titles are a foil for snarling innuendo or irreverent humour. Working predominantly with watercolours or with reverse painting on perspex Mitchell paints imaginary character studies and hybrid animals. In her works, bodies or birds often float, with no painted background, like the cell of a cartoon, or a tattoo on the body, the images cut down to just the essential storytelling elements. The world depicted in Mitchell’s work has a childlike reality, the salient parts are deeply observed and rendered in meticulous, loving detail, just as the background slips into blank anonymity.” – Hanna Scott

The exhibition includes Sam Mitchell’s trademark Perspex works as well as a new direction into watercolour on found photography.  A direction which fits in well with her previous works and use of found materials and imagery.

Sam Mitchell was the 2010 Paramount winner of the Wallace Trust Art Award, and is off to New York in mid-June for a six month residency at New York’s ISCP (International Studio & Curatorial Program).  The first opportunity to view the residency works will be at the Auckland Art Fair in August, when Melanie Roger Gallery will be exhibiting the works Sam Mitchell will be sending back from New York.

From 18 May to 11 June with an opening tonight from 5:30 – 7:30pm.

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