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Leah R. Mitchell

About  —  

Leah R.

Mitchell

Every good piece of fiction inevitably contains elements of autobiography, and the reverse is also true. As truthfully as you tell your own story, it will be fiction that allows other people to access and understand your truth. The presence of fiction in autobiography allows the work to be about the audience as well as about the artist.

 

My work is largely autobiographical, I aim to create painted analogies of the lived human experience, and my own experience and environment is what I feel the most qualified to present. However, as autobiographical as my self-portraits and interiors are, they are sprinkled with a healthy dose of fiction. The fiction is not meant to behave as a glamour, to smooth rough edges and distract from the grime, but it is meant to open the door to larger truths, the experience as a whole overtaking the details of the moment.

Developing the autobiographical nature of my current work is a work in progress. I have always wanted to paint “big” ideas and “important” narratives, and giving that up to focus on what, at first glance, seems easy to relegate to the realm of the unimportant is a challenge. But my hope is that in these intimate examples of the quotidian, that big ideas will inevitably peak through, a glimpse of glory in the ordinary. While F. Scott Fitzgerald is often credited with the famous advise for writers to “write what you know,” it was always more compelling to me coming from Louisa May Alcott in the form of Jo from Little Women, who attempts to write grandiose, gothic stories, but only finds success when she taps into the story of her own life and family, and the beauty of the commonplace.

I am a painter with an MFA from Northern Illinois University. I live in Sugar Grove, IL with my husband and three children,who regularly make appearances in my artwork.

 

Curriculum Vitae

EDUCATION

 

Northern Illinois University, Dekalb, IL

M.F.A in Studio Art  2017

Concentration in Painting

 

School of Representational Art, Chicago, IL

Completion of the drawing program  2003

Studied under Bruno Surdo and Michael Chelich

North Central College

B.A. Honors in History  2001

Concentration in early American studies

Minor in the history of ideas

SELECTED EXHIBITION

Nevertheless, invitational group show Aurora Public Art Commission, Aurora IL 2018

Leah Mitchell: Allegorical Portraits 2009-2017, Oswego Public Library, Montgomery IL 2018

House artist 2017-2018 season Paramount Theater Art Gallery, Aurora IL 2018

Personal Space: MFA solo exhibition Gallery 215, Northern Illinois University, Dekalb IL 2017

Cream of the Crop, ARC Gallery Chicago IL   2017

13th Annual Regional Exhibition Freeport Art Museum, Freeport IL 2016                                                                                                                                                           

 Humankind, The Foundry Art Centre St. Charles, MO  2016

Beloit and Vicinity Wright Museum of Art, Beloit College, Beloit, WI 2016

Beloit and Vicinity Wright Museum of Art, Beloit College, Beloit, WI  2014

Women Painting Women, Principle Gallery, Charleston, NC 2014

Solo Show, Efficient Capital Management, Naperville, IL 2013

Two person Show, The Art Center, Butler, PA   2013

Warrenville Inspired City Museum, Warrenville, IL  2012

NeXt Gallery, St. Charles, IL   2012

Vicinity, Norris Gallery, St. Charles, IL 2012

Spring show, Water Street Studios Gallery, Batavia, IL 2011

Winter show, Water Street Studios Gallery, Batavia, IL  2010

Vicinity, Norris Gallery, St. Charles, IL 2009

Aurora Art League member’s show, Aurora Public Art Commission, Aurora IL  2007

Real People, Old Courthouse Arts Center, Woodstock, IL 2006

 

AWARDS

Outstanding Graduate Student Award, MFA Program Northern Illinois University, Dekalb IL 2016                                                                                                                                                              People’s Choice Award: Beloit and Vicinity Wright Museum of Art, Beloit College, Beloit, WI  2016

People’s Choice Award: Warrenville Inspired City Museum, Warrenville, IL 2012

Honorable Mention: Winter show, Water Street Studios Gallery, Batavia, IL 2010

Best in Show: Aurora Art League member’s show, Aurora Public Art Commission, Aurora IL 2007

 

PUBLICATIONS AND PAPER PRESENTATIONS

Artist presentation and Demonstration, Oswego Public Library, Montgomery IL 2018

Panel discussion; Nevertheless exhibit Aurora Public Art Commission 2018

Art and Power: The dynamics of public participation in the art museum

Presented At: The Representational Art Conference, Ventura, CA    2015

Crowdsourcing in the Community Museum

In Defining Memory: Local Museums and the Construction of History in America's Changing Communities, second edition, ed. Amy K. Levin, AltaMira Press   2017

PRESS

“Two for the Show: artists with local ties team up for Butler Art Center Exhibit” by Rachel Farkas in The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, November 4, 2013

“New Exhibit: Reception kicks off dual show at Art Center” in The Butler Eagle October 31, 2013

 

 

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