by Keith Wigdor
It is not a simple gesture to take that leap into the art and world of the artist, STEVEN V. MITCHELL, for it is an awakening of the spirit, mind and flesh. When my eye steps into Mitchell’s world, I become the slaughtered oxen, only to be reborn into sparkling labyrinth that IS his art and work, pure magic!!!
If there ever was a painter who is determined to be an integral part of a living art movement, its Steven Mitchell, with the coercive powers of his masterful artworks, “Homage”, “Spinning Jenny”, “Obsessive Jester”, etc, using that magnetic finger guiding his brush to the depths of mythology and the underworld. We need to explore this dark universe that Steven lures us into, for it becomes a breathable air of expression, our optical senses revitalized by pieces, such as, “DEATH” and “NECTAR” are a good example of this.
I am compelled into the most vigorous way of seeing when I look at his art. Its not a matter of wanting to identify with the artwork, etc, but to accept the great responsibility of this rite of passage that Steve Mitchell leads myself and everyone else into. It’s a matter of necessity to be reborn with a new wisdom of life!!! Clarity is the key exists here in the art, a strike of lightning, a real formation of transcendence, the key to Steve’s mythological underworld. Even fate itself, cannot be predetermined in this case, for these optimal currents is the approach of death and I do not fear this, because of Steven’s ability to annihilate the logical reality of our modern “world of appearances” and deliver us to the Nectar of his art that is the reward of rebirth and reawakening. I reference his piece, “ABSINTH”.
I also would like to discuss “THE JUDGE”, a new painting where the ‘judge’ figure is positioned by Steven which appears to be confronting our primal and biomorphical ‘mechanical’ state, past and present. There is certainly a Giger presence here, but perfectly constructed and orchestrated by Mitchell to be presented totally unique and original.
An alarm goes off in my soul when I view these artworks, as if I am reborn into unquenchable freshness of the textures that flows so smooth in these paintings. For example, “GEISHA” a female perfectly balanced in blue and gray, an area that can be debated as diametrically opposed but somehow becomes fashionable thanks to Mitchell’s brushwork, this just floored me when I first looked at it. The secret of the charm is fully exposed in the blues and grays, and I never seen this done with such balance, that is what really impresses me when I analyzed his painting style. I like this measure of harmony, so to speak, that did not exist in the natural state that I am accustomed to before I saw this painting.
This leads to me another area of thought regarding Steve’s work, tracing the development back to the shaman, that shaman that is Steven Mitchell. The eternal theme of man’s desire and flesh that sings with the opiate spasm of fire reminiscent of Rimbaud’s poetry. The proximity of the figures in Steve’s art are very close to the ‘Palais Ideal’ of Facteur Cheval, where every figure and texture resides in the Temple of the Sacred! They are all literally morphed into this very spasm of fire: the irresistible force of darkness and body of wisdom. The viewer must take into consideration when offering themselves up to Steve and his art, that its more than a climate of transformation, it’s a world of passionate discovery, a world that is healed by the shaman artist, and a world that is really natural, even beyond the “myth” of our modern day world ruled by restrictive logic. We are freed from this virtual no-man’s land into a real world of myth and enlightenment that is the world of Steven V. Mitchell and his art!