Voices of the Delta: Dusty Mitchell

Author: Arkansas Arts CenterFiled under: Delta 60, Delta Exhibition, Exhibitions, Museum, Voices of the Delta


Dusty Mitchell, Pressure, 2017, digital scales, 1 x 192 x 120 inches

I make work out of ordinary things that have been manufactured to perform specific functions in our society. People have a relationship with the materials I use prior to seeing my work, therefore they immediately identify with the materials when they do. My intention is to manipulate this pre-existing relationship by presenting familiar objects and images in unfamiliar ways.  I prompt viewers to reconsider the role of the objects I use by extracting the conceptual value out of the ordinary. The work is accessible. You are allowed in. You are invited in. It’s not intended to keep you at a safe distance or impress you with some undefined mysterious vagueness. It’s intended to be accepted (or not) for what it is. I’ve been accused of being “clever”, and the work has been labeled as “novelty” at times, which I have no quarrel with. However you choose to label it, count me in. Mark me down for a thumbs up. This is the way I think and the language I speak. I see the work as smart, relevant, right on time, and appropriately sarcastic for our current cultural climate. You may not see it that way.

IMPORTANT TO ME: Ideas, Materials, Craftsmanship, Presentation, Relevance, Relatability, Impact

NOT IMPORTANT TO ME:  Whether or not “you could have made it,” Pretending I know things you don’t, Impressing people with my (non-existent) natural ability to draw or paint, Buyability (made-up word)

The work is excessively deliberate. I don’t have OCD, but I do think about art in a mathematical way. My ideas are strategic, not spontaneous. I am not a person that has whimsical, fleeting inspirations for beautiful artworks that contain evidence of a master painter’s individual touch. My individual touch is that of a robotic arm. I have pre-programmed every idea and have carefully considered the ramifications of every decision made throughout the process of creating the work. It’s quite possible that some of the meat on my artwork’s bone has been sacrificed during the cooking process, but you can be sure that the recipe has been followed exactly. And that taste you are tasting now as you view it? That’s exactly how I wanted it to taste.

–Dusty Mitchell

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