Joan Mitchell: Over here and demanding your attention

I get a thrill from learning about kick-ass creative females, so you can imagine how glad I was that tonight’s Culture Show had a whole segment devoted to abstract expressionist painter Joan Mitchell.

Now, I must admit that I had not heard about Mitchell before… but this is not so surprising since, whilst she has been described as ‘one of the most important and singular American painters of the post-war period’, Mitchell (born 1925) has been largely obscured by her male contemporaries. Her peers in the macho world of the abstract expressionist movement included art superstars Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock –  and much has been made of Mitchell’s work falling by the wayside due to gendered favouritism.

Still, it seems Chicago born Mitchell was tough enough to carve a path out for herself in the art form; an assertive, sometimes stand-offish, foul mouthed female, Mitchell carried on perfecting her craft long after abstract expressionism had fallen out of favour with fickle critics. She continued creating her vibrant and lively works up until her death in 1992.

Having remained obscure to far too many for far too long, Mitchell now seems to be getting the recognition she so rightly deserves – and the first British exhibition devoted to her works is set to open at Edinburgh’s Inverleith House on August the 27th. Find out more here.

You can catch the Culture Show episode which features Joan Mitchell here (it’s the Edinburgh Festival Special, Part 2)

By: Sarah Barnes, 19.08.2010 | Comments (0)
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