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The Tartan

Exhibit opens students eyes

Photo by Laura Enderson.“Quartet: Elephant” (above) is one of the “Big Muse Series” pieces that features elephants.

Laura Enderson
lenderson@radford.edu

With work beyond your expectations, Linda Mitchell’s exhibit of mixed media paintings will be on display in the Covington Center from September 1 to October 31.

“The mixed media encompasses all the beautiful detritus that I preserve and collect,” said Mitchell. “Providing an ever expanding rich palette to create with.”

Mitchell’s work is richly colored and layered, using a variety of materials to create her work, including photographs, fabric, wood, glass and other found objects. The different materials create a textured, interesting look that is truly unique.

Mitchell strives to create a beautiful, dream-like look to her art. Escaping reality, she uses real and imagined animals, toys, scenery and other things that she finds beautiful. Most of the objects found in her paintings hold personal significance. For example, her piece“Be Okay (For Gasper)” features a beluga whale named Gasper. He was sick, and it was a way to wish him a ‘get-better-soon’.

Creativity and ideas come from different places for Mitchell. She uses fabric from her childhood, her dogs, and even her son’s drawings. She paints images from her memories and her pieces feature leaves, past homes, flowers, bubbles, paper boats and other images that are uniquely beautiful. All of her work catches your eye and no matter how long you admire it, there are still details that you might not notice.

There is depth to Mitchell’s work, as it looks outward to embrace not only the beauty and color of the world, but also looks inward at the artist’s hopes, dreams and fears. Some of her pieces are dark, full of pain and bad memories, and some of her pieces are bright, colorful and full of happy times.
Mitchell’s paintings have so much depth, that you get a different look depending on how close you are. From far away, you can see the piece in its entirety, but up close, you start to notice the smaller details.

For example, “Quartet: Rhino” features a rhino in the middle of four colored squares. At first you only notice the rhino, pansy and other flowers, but when you examine it up close, you start to notice other elements in the painting. There is a lake house that resembles Mitchell’s own, as well as a toy and other scenery.

“The composition for the rhino began with the idea of the four color panels working together as a quartet of images to form the rhino—much like four instruments playing one song,” Mitchell said about “Quartet: Rhino.” “In each color, I included things I find beautiful, such as the lake house and pansy. The rhino image on top of all four panels pulls the structure together with an image of an amazing creature that we are fortunate enough to still coexist with, a reminder of our vanishing wilderness.”

Mitchell combines humor with unexpected beauty, such as my personal favorite piece, “Birthday.” This piece features a mouse and a dinosaur-like creature wearing birthday hats. The mouse holds out flowers with blue and grey surrounding mountains. The piece is truly unique, with a pallet of blues and oranges.

Mitchell’s artwork is better viewed in person, so take the time to examine her pieces. The depth and details of her paintings are truly a wonder and not something you would want to miss.