Mitch Mitchell: I Will Meet You in the Sun interprets family history through large-scale print media installations

Berth by Mitch Mitchell

Mitch Mitchell, Berth, 2015-16, 35,000 handmade boxes (ink, paper, glue, wood, labour), dimensions variable.

Halifax, April 15, 2016 – A new solo exhibition, Mitch Mitchell: I Will Meet You in the Sun has opened at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia's Halifax location. Curated by Sarah Fillmore, Chief Curator at the Gallery, the exhibition will surprise and move viewers through its unique story and masterful use of print media.

Montreal-based Mitch Mitchell's works, which pull the print medium into sculpture, performance and film, are founded on a powerful and personal story. Having previously taught at NSCAD and now Assistant Professor at Concordia University, 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 and intimately within his own family.

The exhibition title is derived from a poignant 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 Scotch-Irish expression "You must work the devil out", he hoped physical labour would help exorcise the demons left by the war." Mitchell is understandably a product of his grandfather's mindset and work ethic," said Sarah Fillmore, curator of the exhibition. "He has a dedicated and driven approach to art-making, and printmaking is a natural fit. However, he often takes on the role of the machine, not content to have an automated version of what can be produced by hand. The artist is most certainly present in the work, as he presents a human, sensitive, and complicated relationship to both object and viewer."

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. He 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 the artist's powerful—and breathtaking—response to this history.

Mitch Mitchell: I Will Meet You in the Sun is on view until June 5, 2016.

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Media – Interviews & Image Requests:
Camille Dubois Crôteau, Communications & Marketing Officer
Art Gallery of Nova Scotia
(902) 424-2903
Cell: (902) 497-6006

About the Artist
Mitch Mitchell:

About the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia
The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia is Atlantic Canada’s largest arts museum. With locations in downtown Halifax and downtown Yarmouth, it houses the province’s art collection and offers a range of innovative exhibitions and programming.