This new body of work is a continuation of Cynthia Dinan-Mitchell’s surrealist botanical inspiration. The hand-painted screenprints reference the vanitas theme, where vegetables, flowers, ribbons, skulls and birds tumble together in compositions as heterogeneous as they are harmonious. The light source in the works becomes the central narrative element to the compositions, where the dark night scenes lit mainly by flashlights, light bulbs and camping lights become romantic and dramatic. These works on paper are meant to be beautiful (and maybe a little humorous), but never superficial—critical without being cynical. They simply suggest we try something else by presenting an alternative ordering of familiar things.
Inspired by classical still-life paintings and vintage illustrations such as those seen in old encyclopedias and botanical textbooks, the viewer is invited to contemplate and reflect on these compositions as portals to small self-contained decorative worlds. It is an exploration of a bittersweet blend of nostalgia and the present moment. These works will hopefully evoke the fragility of life, but also the endless energy of renewal found in both nature and in art.
Cynthia Dinan-Mitchell employs printmaking and installation to examine, deform and pervert notions of interior decoration. She creates excessive and saturated mise-en-scenes as a way to transform the gallery space. The entire installations become the context and the art; however, each singular object is created as autonomous pieces. Through this work, she questions and/or parodies notions such as ornamentation, beauty, taste, gender and hierarchy.
Cynthia Dinan-Mitchell holds a Bachelors degree in Fine Arts from Concordia University (2002) and a Masters in Visual Arts from Laval University, Québec City, (2007). Her work has been presented as part of many solo and group exhibitions in Québec and Canada including the Museum of Fine Arts of Québec and as part of exhibitions held in Thailand, Brazil and the United States. Cynthia Dinan-Mitchell lives and works in Québec City and is represented by D’Este gallery in Montreal.
An essay by Cole Swanson accompanies the exhibition. Please click here to download the brochure.