I am interested in the relationship between painting and experience and it's relevance in the current era. For me as an artist, several emotionally charged collisions need to take place to justify my works actuality. If successful, each moment of contact impacts the other and a cycle of energy is created that has the capacity to grow.
The first time this happens is when I see something I feel the need to paint. I have always been drawn to the juxtaposition of nature rendering fragments of man-made construction, beautiful. Then like so many others, nature alone can take my breath away or at times it's culture and its absurdity that does the same. There are many views that stop me in my tracks.
The second and for me most exciting moment of connection, is putting paint to canvas. The intuitive mark making can, on a good day, feel electric. Using oils, I flick, scratch and scrape to create a surface that comes alive. The opportunity to indulge in uncertainty, exploration, flexibility and surprise is a powerful and necessary antidote to the worrying predictability of everyday life. However without part three of the equation, I would not have felt free to nourish this part of my soul to the extent that I have. The audience.
To have done my job well, tension has been created between the viewer and the painting. The love, excitement, sadness and anger is tangible. Have I convinced anyone to come on this journey? My aim is to invite onlookers to slow down and wake up from their hypnotic trance propelling them through modern life. Should they feel compelled to observe their surroundings more slowly and with thought, or maybe tap into their own creativity, then the cycle of energy is complete and quality of life is restored for the individual and for future generations to pass the baton to.
Perth based artist Shannah Mitchell grew up watching her artist father paint and always knew she would do the same. Completing her Bachelor of FineArts/Visual Arts at Edith Cowan University in 1999, left Shannah with a certainty that she wanted to create art that was accessibly by many. A mantra she would draw upon at different stages throughout her career.
Practising her art over the subsequent two decades fitted in & around raising a family, with output mostly commissioned work and annual group shows, predominately depicting her local urban and coastal environment. In retrospect Shannah looks upon these years as intense studio time that were critical to her development as an artist. In recent years, as time restraints have eased, she takes a moment to choose subject matter that has impacted her emotionally in some way and reflects on her core motive, “who am I serving by doing this painting?”
In 2019 Shannah completed her first body of work for a joint exhibition held at a private residence in Perth and raising money for breast cancer awareness. Since the success of this event Shannah has actively sought exhibitions that are held with the purpose of donating proceeds to charitable organisations, such at the ‘Fremantle Long table’ for homelessness with St Patricks and Lifelines 20×20 exhibition to be held later this year.
Earlier in 2021 Shannah was shortlisted for the ‘National Capital Art Prize’ in Canberra and the ‘Maritime Art Prize’ in Melbourne.
Currently Shannah’s creative pursuits are divided between time spent on her loose impressionistic coastal scenes for Margaret Rivers, Jahroc Gallery and putting together a collection of work that explore the relationship between painting and experience. The latter done with the intension of exhibiting the results in her first solo exhibition some time and place in the future.