History of a First Failed Industry, 2015 - Future, Paper, Silkscreen, Ink, Stainless Steel Staples, Labour, Variable Dimensions. Collection of the Artist. Photo: Mitch Mitchell

Mitch Mitchell: I Will Meet You in the Sun

Saturday, 16 April 2016 to Sunday, 5 June 2016

April 16 - June 5, 2016
Curated by Sarah Fillmore

Using print media as his language, Mitch Mitchell tests the limits of its fluency, never content to remain long on familiar ground. He takes great risks and insists, through large-scale installations, that printed matter matters, and is certainly not tied to the dimensions of a piece of paper or the size of a press bed. Discover the artist’s masterful interpretation of his own history through surprising works that take liberties with tradition and pull “print” into sculpture, performance and film.

Mitch Mitchell has long dealt with issues of labour and production, environment and technology, as well as the history of the print medium. His work over the past five years has shifted to matters more personal in nature: his own family history.The story, however personal, turns out to be quite universal, creating work about the very basic tenets of our shared humanity.

This body of work is based on Mitchell’s grandfather's time in World War II as a radar technician, exploring the aftermath of his service and the war’s ripple effect globally, locally, and intimately within his own family.

The exhibition title is derived from a letter that Mitchell’s grandfather, Claude T. Mitchell, wrote to his grandmother, Francis Scott Mitchell, while posted in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands during the Second World War: “If I die, I will meet you in the sun”. His grandfather was the first to witness, through the blip on his radar screen, the explosion of Hiroshima. He would return to the Midwest, reluctant to stay in the military. He played baseball for the Chicago Cubs farm team before permanently injuring his arm, forcing him to return home to the coal mines in Danville, IL. Drawing on the expression "You must work the devil out", he hoped physical labour would help exorcise the demons left by the war.

Mitchell’s family was not privy to his grandfather’s wartime history during his lifetime, as his record was only unsealed 10 years after his death. Mitchell was 15 years old when his grandmother revealed his grandfather's role in the bombing; he has been digesting and exploring that history since. The works on view represent his response to this history.

Read our fascinating feature interviews with the artist on our blog:

Part 1

Part 2