Bruce Mitchell

Artist Statement

Making art is something I absolutely have to do because it fills my life with a delight like nothing else. What makes that experience so fulfilling for me is exploring the connection between my feelings for the material and the sense of discovery that happens in the making of an object. My primary focus is to use my experience, instinct and intuition to visualize an intrinsic shape within the raw material that relates to its own unique personality, responding to the changing rhythms of positive and negative shapes and spaces that emerge as a form develops. My intent as an artist is to draw upon nature, journeys into dream worlds and the unknown, and then bring life to those excursions through the language of sculpture.
The Kimono Cho series that I began last year is a significant departure from my work in sculpture, lathe-turned and carved vessels and other objects. Below is a statement I wrote that illustrates my appreciation for the inspirational source of these new works.

"The Japanese kimono has been one of the highest expressions of textile art for more than twelve hundreds years. As an object that is both beautiful in both form and function, its design also mirrors the exquisite symmetry of butterfly wings. And, as butterflies represent longevity, joy and transformation in Japanese folklore, there is reason to believe that the kimono's design was intended to pay homage to these enchanting creatures and the mythical powers they possess.

Cho is the Japanese word for butterfly and because I've made these wood kimonos with book-matched boards in a way that mimics the lovely architecture of butterfly wings, it made perfect sense for me to use that word in the title of these new works: Kimono Cho.

I use what could be called a painters approach to this way of woodworking by shaping and arranging boards of contrasting hues and grain patterns so they enhance each other in a way that I hope will create an evocative composition.

Making these Kimono Cho from wood gives me the freedom to experiment with the classic kimono form to produce a series of new works that are inspired by the exquisitely woven masterworks of the past but will have their own unique identity."