Joan Mitchell (4 stars)

Arresting display of abstract paintings

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This article is from 2010.

Joan Mitchell

Inverleith House really is a special place. An 18th century mansion reserved entirely for the display of art, its beautifully proportioned light-filled rooms enjoy unmatched views of rolling lawns and botanicals. The works that are exhibited within its walls benefit from the sense of pause and distance that the space produces. The work of one of the most singular American painters of the postwar period, Joan Mitchell, finds great synthesis here.

Large, thick impasto strokes colour Mitchell’s canvases with incredible vibrancy. Animated by varying gradations in weight and light, her soaring greens and broad pools of yellow are mixed with more urgent drips and strokes – insistent marks of each particular painterly passage. These landscapes mark a relationship with nature without attempting to reproduce it, a tenet made all the more explicit by this incredibly sympathetic hang.

Comprising works made throughout the artist’s career from 1958-1992, this spare yet considered selection of paintings and pastels evince the artist’s European influence as well as the support of abstract expressionists de Kooning and Kline. A figure annexed from the canon, the artist’s works are enjoying a late resurgence of interest and her unrivalled continuation of the abstract expressionist idiom is represented here with two late pastels from 1992. Provoking neither a reading nor even a wonder at what they may be, these works on paper simply imprint a presence and stand sentry for Mitchell’s fine and significant practice.

Inverleith House, Royal Botanic Garden, 248 2849, until 3 Oct (not Mon), free.

This article is from 2010.

Joan Mitchell

  • 4 stars

First museum exhibition in the UK devoted to influential abstract American painter Joan Mitchell (1925 - 1992). Vibrant canvases mark a relationship with nature without attempting to reproduce it, evincing the artist's European influence.

Creative Workshop: Joan Mitchell

  • 4 stars

Tessa Lynch leads a workshop in which you will use a variety of techniques, from drawing to model-making and photography, to develop your own creative response to the 'Joan Mitchell' exhibition. Ages 16+. Please email lyoung@rbge.co.uk to book.

Joan Mitchell: Lecture by Dominic Paterson

  • 4 stars

The University of Glasgow's Dr Dominic Paterson gives a talk on the exhibition. Booking essential.

Joan Mitchell

  • 4 stars

The first UK solo exhibition by the great American abstract expressionist painter Joan Mitchell (1925-1992) presented in 'the most beautiful venue of the festival'. The exhibition features key paintings on canvas and works on paper throughout a career spent in New York (where she enjoyed the support of Willem de Kooning…

Joan Mitchell

  • 4 stars

The first museum exhibition in the UK by Joan Mitchell (1925–1992), one of the most important and singular American painters of the post-war period, whose influence is gaining increasing recognition today. Mitchell studied at The Art Institute of Chicago before moving to New York in the late 1940s where she became the…

Joan Mitchell: Lecture by Dominic Paterson

  • 4 stars

Lecture by Dr Dominic Paterson, Post-Doctoral Research Assistant in 20th and 21st Century Art at the University of Glasgow. Booking essential. Part of the 2010 EAF.

Joan Mitchell: Portrait of an Abstract Painter

  • 4 stars

A film about the artist, directed by Marion Cajori, (1992, 58 mins), is being screened continuously throughout the Mitchell exhibition. Part of the 2010 EAF.

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