Current Exhibitions

Mark Mitchell

Landmarks

1 Mar - 25 Mar 2024

Exhibition Works

Landmark
Landmark (2024)
Glance
Glance (2023)
Follow
Follow (2024)
Terrain
Terrain (2024)
Miniature Series (Horizontal Wave)
Miniature Series (Horizontal Wave) (2024)
Miniature Series (Dark Ripple, Diagonal)
Miniature Series (Dark Ripple, Diagonal) (2024)
Miniature Series (Black and White Ripple, Diagonal)
Miniature Series (Black and White Ripple, Diagonal) (2024)
Miniature Series (Black and White Ripple, Vertical)
Miniature Series (Black and White Ripple, Vertical) (2024)
Hothouse Series (90 Degrees, Tan)
Hothouse Series (90 Degrees, Tan) (2024)
Hothouse Series (30 Degrees, Blue)
Hothouse Series (30 Degrees, Blue) (2024)
Hothouse Series (60 Degrees, Green, Yellow)
Hothouse Series (60 Degrees, Green, Yellow) (2024)
Crease
Crease (2024)
Miniature Series (Tall Green Rectangles)
Miniature Series (Tall Green Rectangles) (2024)
Miniature Series (Tall Green Ripple)
Miniature Series (Tall Green Ripple) (2024)

Exhibition Text

Seeing is believing. So goes the old adage, one that has more than a grain of truth to it. Humans are predominantly visual beasts, and our brains accept information accessed through our eyes more readily than through our other senses.

The corollary to this is the unease and feeling of unreality generated by the optical illusion. When we see something which is internally inconsistent, or which is not backed up by information from our other senses, it can create a cognitive dissonance — a desire to accept two opposing "truths" simultaneously or to perceive something as both true and false. This underlying mental frisson is a major factor in op art. Artists like Bridget Riley have long used the features and limitations of visual perception to produce static works which seem to move, and flat forms which seem to have a contoured or textured surface.

So it is with the elegant ceramic work of Mark Mitchell. Mitchell's porcelain vessels are subtly dissonant, their exteriors coated with geometries redolent in glorious irregularity. The interiors are finished with a consummate crackled patterning, making the sturdy forms seem on the verge of collapse. Delicate strands of metallic finish are added to highlight the perfection of their imperfection.

Above all, the outer surfaces use their linear patterns to play with the minds of the spectator. Visual input convinces the brain that surfaces are ridged and distorted when they are smooth and regular. This deliberate trompe l'oeil is enhanced by the artist's wilful subverting of the format of standard bowls and vases. The patterns break loose from normal vessel shapes to jut into the air above them, creating turrets and scaffolds of line that reinforce the illusions. The regular chevron patterns of Landmark (2024) is so clearly overlaid on a ridged surface that it comes as a shock to discover there are no such ridges, and the surface patterns of the Hothouse Series works seem to have the undulating texture of basket weave and also to be about to escape from their ceramic surface.

This dynamic tension produces a strong effect of surface and form being engaged in some eternal battle. Mitchell's skill as an artist is to pinpoint the fulcrum in this tussle perfectly, keeping both the tension and sense of apparent movement in perfect balance. As such, each piece becomes not only a beautiful ceramic item, but also a measured exploration of surface, volume, and form.