Linda Mitchell, who was born in Atlanta in 1960, grew up in a family that nurtured her strong, early interest in both animals and making art. As a child, she started painting, making animal figurines, and sewing, all of which informed her work as a mature artist.
By working intuitively, the artist layers images and materials, such as papers, textiles, wood, glass, and found objects. The pieces coalesce into intricate and dreamy surreal scenes, reflecting life’s emotional complexity.
Mitchell expresses personal truths by using animal figures to tell stories. They become compelling surrogates for human beings and their emotional lives. Her work utilizes the inherent sincerity of the animal kingdom to reach the inner nature of the viewer.
After studying at Georgia State University and Berry College, Mitchell attended the University of Georgia, receiving a BFA in 1982. While there she developed a special interest in lithography, and she credits printmaking for spurring her feeling for layering images and materials. Mitchell went on to receive an MFA in painting from the University of Georgia in 1990, and an MFA in sculpture from Georgia State University in 1994. A collage class that Mitchell took near the end of graduate school became a real impetus in her developing a personal visual language. Collage allowed her to combine her impulse for image-making with her
In 2000 Mitchell began creating large acrylic paintings that combined actual objects with painted illusion. This work culminated in a 8'x18' installation of over-lapping paintings, Embrace the Messy, exhibited in 2004. The show’s title embodies the artist’s intuitive approach that allows poetic meaning to emerge from the highly textural layering of painted and digital images with a variety of materials. Mitchell’s sculptural inclination was spurred after the birth of her son in 1995 and she began making animal figures using Play-Doh. In 2006 she started sewing fabric animals as well. The animal figures have been used as models for paintings and as photographic images collaged to the surface of pieces. The animals often express human emotions as they are combined with images of ephemeral beauty from nature. In 2006, she created Serio in Verse, which alternated paintings with sculptural fabric animals, and in 2007 Louis XIV: Too Much Will Never Be Enough. The latter is ruled by a fabric sculpture of Louis XIV as a horned animal avatar, flanked by fantastic paintings inspired by Mitchell’s European travels. In 2013, she completed Ra: The God of All Creatures and the Fabric of the Universe, and in 2014, Closet Monster installation.
Linda Mitchell has exhibited her paintings extensively with her solo exhibitions including those at Museum of Greater Lafayette (IN) (Scheduled for 2014), Piedmont Arts Association (VA), Danville Museum (VA), Creative Arts Guild (GA), MacNider Museum (IA), Valdosta State University (GA), Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center (VA), Peninsula Fine Arts Center (VA), Gallery One Twelve (GA), Radford University Museum (VA), Visual Arts Center of NW Florida, Mary G. Hardin Center for the Arts (AL), Spiva Center for the Arts (MO), Chastain Arts Center (GA), The Goddard Center (OK), Tinney & Cannon Contemporary (TN), Mason Murer Fine Art (GA) Macon & Co. (GA), Georgia State University, and Metropolitan Arts Council of Birmingham (AL). She lives and works in Atlanta, GA.
Photo credit: @2020 Megan Varner