Exhibition by Beach Museum's 2015 gift print artist, Dean Mitchell, opens March 3
Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2015
MANHATTAN — The similarities between a small town in Florida and a large reservation in metropolitan Phoenix are the inspiration for an exhibition at Kansas State University's Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art by Dean Mitchell, the Friends of the Beach Museum's 2015 gift print artist.
"Dean Mitchell: A Place, A Mental Space" will run March 3-June 21 in the Beach Museum's Ruth Ann Wefald Gallery and features watercolors and oil paintings of scenes from Mitchell's hometown of Quincy, Florida and the Pima-Maricopa Indian Community in Phoenix. Along with the exhibition, which is sponsored by the Friends of the Beach Museum of Art Business Partners, the 2015 Friends of the Beach Museum of Art Gift Print, an etching of Mitchell's "Break Time," printed by master printmaker John Costin, will be offered.
Mitchell grew up poor in Quincy, which is in Florida's panhandle. After studying at the Columbus College of Art and Design in Ohio and working as an illustrator for Hallmark in Kansas City, Mitchell gained attention as a watercolorist and oil painter by entering — and winning — juried exhibitions. He had great success in Western art-themed exhibitions such as the Phoenix Art Museum's "The West Select." His work was recently chosen to receive the highest honor in the American Watercolor Society show in New York. He will receive the award in New York on April 24.
During a visit to the American Southwest, a friend took Mitchell on a drive through the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community in metropolitan Phoenix. The artist was immediately struck by the visual similarities between the structures he encountered on the reservation and the buildings in Quincy.
"Notable for Mitchell, too, were the differences between the romanticized images of Native American life in Western art exhibitions and what he observed on the Pima-Maricopa land," said Theresa Bembnister, former associate curator at the Beach Museum of Art who helped organize the exhibition. "With flat areas of color and high contrast, Mitchell's oil paintings have a quiet, sun-drenched feeling. Areas of his watercolors border on abstraction, providing just enough visual information for viewers to fill in necessary details. His paintings create a strong sense of place, capturing the spare, desolate beauty of a community in the harsh desert climate."
For information on purchasing the Beach Museum's 2015 gift print, contact Robin Lonborg at 785-532-7718 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following events will be offered at the museum in conjunction with Mitchell's exhibition:
• The Early Release Workshop, Water Colors, will be from 2-4 p.m. Wednesday, April 8. Elementary school children will view Mitchell's watercolors and learn more about watercolor techniques. The cost is $5 per participant, or $3 for museum members. Reservations required are required by calling 785-532-7718.
• Mitchell will give an artist's talk Thursday, April 23 at 5:30 p.m. in the museum’s UMB Theatre, followed by a reception. Both events are free and the public is welcome.
For more information about the Mitchell exhibition and related events, contact Linda Duke, museum director, at 785-532-7718.