METRA MITCHELL — Artist Statement

In my recent series entitled “Other Disguises”, archetypal characters appear in many guises within staged theatrical environments. A certain strangeness in their representation reflects the fragmentation and duplication of the ego in a dream. Unpacking this constellation of imagery carries a strong emotional charge, conjuring a complex process of transformations. This metamorphosis involves the human body- a living presence that may take on different shapes and forms. Concealed identities, masks and other disguises reflect a lack of certainty, but also encourages play.

Through the physicality of the painting process, this new body of work investigates polarities of vulnerability vs. control of emotions, revealing vs. concealing patterns and the juncture between composure and discomposure. Within the theater of painting, bodies and the space physically became the playground. The texture of these paintings is achieved through the thick application and accumulation of slabs of paint, embedding the content into the painted illusion. In this way, the images should convey both conviction and ambiguity.

Masks & disguises may be metaphors with deeper psychological meanings. Wherever known reality stops, where we touch the unknown, there we may project an archetypal image. I understand archetypes as universal, archaic patterns and images that derive from the collective unconscious and as the psychic counterpart of instinct. Each piece is the residue of the act of working toward a semblance of meaning where the vulnerability and endurance of the body continues to hold and reflect these residues.