By Sara Krajewski
Like a Valentine: The Art of Jeffry Mitchell (Sara Krajewski)

Jeffry Mitchell approaches his artistic exploration of love, death, sex, and spiritual trial and redemption with sincerity and intuitive intelligence. His art radiates a charm and appeal marked by an exuberant abundance of forms, materials, and techniques. From his earliest experiments with resin and paper to his extended engagement with ceramics and his latest multi-part installations, Mitchell has consistently investigated the decorative and the theatrical—blurring distinctions between art, craft, and functionality. Mitchell, who has called himself a “gay folk artist,” has developed a distinct visual language with symbolic characters like flowers, elephants, bears, and other flora and fauna. The seemingly child-like sweetness or nostalgic sentimentality quickly gives way to complex emotional content and narratives that touch upon Mitchell’s identity as an artist and gay man as well as his upbringing in a working class, Catholic family. His work also responds to specific aspects of the history of art, craft, and visual culture. He fashions sophisticated twists on sources as diverse as Chinese funerary sculpture, folk art, Russian Constructivism, watercolor nature illustrations, and modernist assemblage. The Henry Art Gallery, together with Marquand Books, published the first monograph of the artist’s work, Like a Valentine: Jeffry Mitchell. This 208-page book features full color illustrations of Mitchell’s work. It includes essays by Sara Krajewski, Matthew Stadler, Patterson Sims, and Sam Korman; a conversation between Mitchell and artist Matthew Offenbacher; and anecdotes from Eric Fredericksen, Tina Hoggatt, Kristan Kennedy, Jeanne Quinn, Hanneline Rogeberg, and Tommy White.


Hardcover, 208 pages

10.25 x 10.25 inches

Publisher: Henry Art Gallery, 2012

Designer: Zach Hooker

Printer: Artron Color Printing Co., Ltd

ISBN: 9780935558500

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