It seems to be human nature to look for meaning in everything. We agonize over the meaning of baby names before choosing monikers for our offspring, we overanalyze other people’s words to find out what they really meant, we take silly quizzes that tell us what our favorite color says about who we are. And of course, we look for meaning and subtext in artwork. Guilty, as charged, officer. What is the artist trying to say? What message is being conveyed? In the case of Geoff Mitchell, it is a case of what the artist is striving not to communicate.
Mayonnaise, mixed media on panel, 20×20
The artist, whose show, Entries of a Diary Thief, opens at Florida Mining in Jacksonville, FL next Friday, creates work driven by the sense of “pareidolia, a psychological misperception involving a vague or obscure stimulus being perceived as something distinct and significant”. ( quote via Florida Mining )
Trinket, mixed media on panel, 24×36
In other words, our tendency to create meaning where there is none. The artist describes his use of representational imagery as being done “in a free associative and purely intuitive manner. I mix and layer images together in a way that is reminiscent of an abstract painter layering color.” ( via Florida Mining ) So any “meaning” inferred by the viewer is not intended by the artist himself, but instead by the viewers personal association with the imagery therein.
Zipper, mixed media on panel, 20×20
Derby, mixed media on panel, 12.5×18
So, with that being said, I leave you to draw your own conclusions about Mitchell’s work. His sense of color, composition and design are undeniable, which is what makes the unrelated imagery so compelling and visually arresting.
Drop, mixed media on panel, 20×20
Please visit Geoff Mitchell’s website to see more of his work online. If you’re in North Florida, don’t miss his show opening December 9, 2011 at Florida Mining.
Featured image is Topaz, mixed media on panel, 60×20. All images are via the artist’s website.