Alice Butler writes that ‘in Vanessa Mitter’s paintings, the personal is treated as a pliant material, a source of affect and investigation, but also of fiction and performance. Collage, paint and pigment find a way on to the canvas in ephemeral expressive gestures. There is an abject narrative at play – of lost childhood and drifting brides – but it is a narrative that wanders in and around the artifice of the material.’
Her paintings are both exuberantly high-octane in terms of colour, but mordant in terms of their conceptual approach. In a painting such as Havisham, the reconfigured Miss Havisham is presented as the central figure, a young woman, engulfed, not only by multiple layers of floral patterning, but by two other young women; her invented sisters. Miss Havisham is re-imagined as a figure who is not old and fading. Endless layers of patterning, collage and gaudy colouring are deliberately extreme, to the point where the paintings, when viewed in the flesh, are almost too vivid, too excessive.
The starting point for many of these paintings are fashion, interiors and bridal magazines, with many of the collaged elements cut out from these publications. The fashion image, beauty as the ideological promise of the good life and product placement, are fragmented and subverted. Sugary pastels and lurid fluorescent pigment signal our illusory and synthetic popular culture. Fakery and surface become interchangeable.
Vanessa Mitter is a painter and a performance artist. Since graduating with a BA in Fine Art: Painting from Central Saint Martins and a Postgraduate Diploma and MA in Fine Art from Chelsea College of Art and Design (2010), Vanessa Mitter has exhibited internationally. Selected exhibitions include: And The Dark And The Dark, A-Side B-Side Gallery (London), Strange Attraction, A.P.T Gallery (London), Beuys Keep Swinging, Landing Space, Chelsea College of Art and Design (London), The Painting Game, K Projects (Berlin), de Kooning, de Kooning, de Kooning, David Risley Gallery (Copenhagen), Then I Remembered, Carter Presents Gallery (London), und wieder lockt das Weib, Sympra (in association with Strzelski Galerie, Stuttgart), Forza Nuova, Space4828 (Venice), Scapegoat Society, Guest Projects (London).
* She has curated two shows of significant emerging and established artists’ work, The Dandyism of Contempt at Camden Town Unlimited (London) and I Am Not Here To Entertain You at Field Project Space (London), both in 2011.
* Mitter’s work is held in private collections in Europe and America. She has been shortlisted for: 100 Painters of Tomorrow (Beers Gallery, London), The Red Mansion Foundation Art Prize and GAM – Gilbert de Botton Art Prize.
* Publications include: Frieze, Posi+tive, Politiken and Show Time (Sonnendeck art publication), Strange Attraction exhibition catalogue by Alice Butler, Life Was Never Meant to be This Way solo exhibition catalogue (Museu Casal de Cultura, Mallorca).
Exhibition dates: 3rd – 25th June 2016
Private preview Thursday 2nd June 2016 from 6pm