Ocula MagazineContentsView All
Featured ContentView All
‘An Opera for Animals’ at Rockbund Art Museum Ocula Report ‘An Opera for Animals’ at Rockbund Art Museum 19 Jul 2019 : Penny Liu for Ocula

An Opera for Animals was first staged at Para Site in Hong Kong between 23 March and 2 June 2019, with works by over 48 artists and collectives that use opera as a metaphor for modes of contemporary, cross-disciplinary art-making. The exhibition's second iteration takes up a large portion of the Rockbund Art Museum (RAM) in Shanghai (22 June–25...

Fade out copy.
Read More
Takashi Murakami on Collecting, Contracts, and Teamwork Ocula Conversation
In Collaboration with Tai Kwun Contemporary
Takashi Murakami on Collecting, Contracts, and Teamwork

For three months from 1 June to 1 September 2019, Tai Kwun Contemporary in Hong Kong showcases MURAKAMI vs MURAKAMI, a major survey exhibition of the Japanese artist Takashi Murakami. Curated by Tobias Berger, head of art at Tai Kwun, and Gunnar B Kvaran, director of Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo, the exhibition spans the three floors of Tai Kwun's...

Fade out copy.
Read More
Get Up, Stand Up Now: Generations of Black Creative Pioneers at Somerset House Ocula Report Get Up, Stand Up Now: Generations of Black Creative Pioneers at Somerset House 5 Jul 2019 : Jareh Das for Ocula

Get Up Stand Up Now: Generations of Black Creative Pioneers at Somerset House in London (12 June–15 September 2019) surveys more than half a century of black creativity in Britain and beyond across the fields of art, film, photography, music, design, fashion, and literature.Curated by Zak Ové, works by approximately 100 intergenerational black...

Fade out copy.
Read More

Joan Mitchell

(1925 - 1992), USA

Abstract Expressionist painter and printmaker Joan Mitchell was one of the principle figures of the second generation of Abstract Expressionists that emerged from New York in the 1950s. Her work features in the collections of the United States' major modern art museums including New York's Whitney Museum of American Art, Museum of Modern Art, and Solomon R Guggenheim Museum in New York, and also in other important institutions such as Tate in London. Distinct from her predominantly male counterparts, the artist developed her own signature rhythmic gestural style and synesthetic use of colour to evoke emotion and memory.

Born in Chicago, Mitchell moved to New York in 1949 after spending a year in France on the James Nelson Raymond Foreign Traveling Fellowship from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she had graduated with a BFA in 1947 and would go on to graduate with an MFA in 1950. Inspired by her time in France to move toward abstraction in her work, she quickly became an active participant in the avantgarde art scene of downtown New York, her artwork admired by the likes of Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning, and Hans Hofmann. In 1951 she became one of the few women to be included in The Club, an exclusive gathering place on East Eighth Street for the artists who would become the basis of the New York School of Abstract Expressionism. She was included in The Ninth Street Show (1951, New York), which was curated by Leo Castelli and also featured Robert Motherwell, de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, Hofmann, and Helen Frankenthaler.

In developing her technique, Mitchell was not specifically interested in the style of abstraction but rather in making a 'surface work', prioritising the texture of the canvas and the emotional evocation of abstract forms. Her technique combined contrasting methods of dripped liquid and densely applied paint, and both areas of flatness and relief. Initially, her focus was on developing her own style of gesture and line, creating a rhythm of contrasting and conflicting lines with a balance of order and disorder, as visible in artworks such as Untitled (1955). She soon began to introduce more in-depth layered fields of luminous colour that she would build up through dense lines in works such as Ladybug (1957) and Goulphar II (1959). Though appearing unrestrained everything is carefully arranged, with the artist attentive to the layering of paint and the relationship between colours and textures. As the artist explained 'the freedom in my work is quite controlled. I don't close my eyes and hope for the best.' The artist's impact was in how her canvases created moods, typically in response to nature and more specifically the impression it leaves.

Already splitting her time between Paris and New York since 1955, Mitchell fully moved to Paris in 1959. The period between 1960 and 1964 saw a change in her style, marked by her father's death and her mother's cancer diagnosis. The brush strokes became more violent and the colours more sombre. In large multi-panel works such as Untitled (1964), her form became more singular and dense. In 1968, the artist settled in the heartland of French modernism (near Claude Monet's former estate): Vétheuil, a small village northwest of Paris. There, while continuing to paint and maintaining an international presence, she started to regularly host artists at various stages of their careers, providing space and support toward the development of their art.

In 2002, the Whitney Museum of American Art presented a posthumous retrospective of Mitchell's work.

Michael Irwin | Ocula | 2019
Fade out copy.
Read More

Featured Artworks

GOULPHAR II by Joan Mitchell contemporary artwork
Joan MitchellGOULPHAR II, 1959 Oil on canvas
45 1/2 x 34 3/4 inches
Cheim & Read
UNTITLED by Joan Mitchell contemporary artwork
Joan MitchellUNTITLED, 1955 Oil on paper
40.6 x 50.8 cm
Cheim & Read
UNTITLED by Joan Mitchell contemporary artwork
Joan MitchellUNTITLED, 1960 Oil on canvas
48.9 x 63.5 cm
Cheim & Read
Trees by Joan Mitchell contemporary artwork
Joan MitchellTrees, 1992 Lithographie
76.3 x 56.5 cm
Galerie Lelong & Co. Paris
Composition by Joan Mitchell contemporary artwork
Joan MitchellComposition, 1969 Oil on canvas
195 x 130 cm
Sold
Hauser & Wirth

Recent Exhibitions

View All (4)
Contemporary art exhibition, Joan Mitchell, I carry my landscapes around with me at David Zwirner, New York
Closed
3 May–12 July 2019 Joan Mitchell I carry my landscapes around with me David Zwirner, 20th Street, New York
Contemporary art exhibition, Joan Mitchell, Joan Mitchell: Paintings from the Middle of the Last Century, 1953–1962 at Cheim & Read, New York
Closed
6 September–3 November 2018 Joan Mitchell Joan Mitchell: Paintings from the Middle of the Last Century, 1953–1962 Cheim & Read, New York
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Surface Work at Victoria Miro, London
Closed
11 April–19 May 2018 Group Exhibition Surface Work Victoria Miro, Wharf Road, London

Represented By

In Related Press

View All (9)
The Joan Mitchell You’ve Never Seen Related Press The Joan Mitchell You’ve Never Seen Hyperallergic : 23 June 2019

The career of Joan Mitchell, who once likened Clement Greenberg to a 'toilet seat,' ought to remind us of how tribal the art world continues to be. There are those who want to belong to clubs and acquire the proper affiliations, and there are others who don't or can't belong to anything of the sort, even the cliques that would gladly welcome them....

Fade out copy.
Read More
The Charming Letters of One of America’s Painting Legends Related Press The Charming Letters of One of America’s Painting Legends WSJ Magazine : 3 May 2019

The American abstract expressionist painter Joan Mitchell rose to prominence during the second half of the 20th century; she was known for her large-scale canvas works, an outpouring of exuberant brushstrokes and blazing colour. Mitchell was one of the rare women artists of her time to achieve the same level of acclaim as her male contemporaries,...

Fade out copy.
Read More
An alternative history of abstract art Related Press An alternative history of abstract art Apollo Magazine : 25 May 2018

Surface Work, a survey show of women abstract artists across Victoria Miro’s Mayfair and Wharf Road galleries, reveals an alternative history of how much women have already achieved.From the examples of the more than 50 artists in this show–some relatively unknown and others household names–it is obvious that women approached abstraction with just...

Fade out copy.
Read More
Surface Work review – women abstract artists dazzle in historic show Related Press Surface Work review – women abstract artists dazzle in historic show The Guardian : 15 April 2018

There are certain shows that change one's sense of art. Surface Work is one of them. Spread across two sites, it is nothing less than an anthology of abstract painting spanning an entire century, from early constructivism to post-digital sampling, in which every work holds its own and every work is by a woman. This is a rare and historic event.It...

Fade out copy.
Read More

In Video & Audio

Joan Mitchell, Composition, 1969 Related Video & Audio Joan Mitchell, Composition, 1969 Hauser & Wirth : 4 June 2018

'Sunflowers are something I feel very intensely. They look so wonderful when they are young and they are so very moving when they are dying.’ – Joan MitchellFlorence Derieux, Director of Exhibitions, introduces this stunning example from Mitchell’s acclaimed Sunflower series included in Hauser & Wirth’s presentation at Art Basel. At once...

Fade out copy.
View Video

Sign up to be notified when new artworks and exhibitions by Joan Mitchell are added to Ocula.

WeChat

Scan the QR Code via WeChat to follow Ocula's official account.

Scan to follow Ocula on WeChat.
iCal GoogleYahooOutlook