“Our streets are straight and systematic, our buildings sturdy and strong, but even while we walk down those streets and work and live in those strong buildings, a wilderness surrounds us, and waits for us,” says artist Kelly June Mitchell.
Mitchell describes the world that hums just outside our blinkered existence in a mixed-media installation, Infringing Forest, at 908 Broadway. A triptych of trees printed on sheer fabric looms over the small figures of a human, a bear, a wolf, a crow and a vole. These beings inhabiting the tranquil center of the work form a sun circle, and seem to draw in the wilderness around them. If the air around the figures is disturbed, the whole “forest” appears to move. The totemic animals, painted a ghostly white, are of near-equal size, implying “equal importance in the environment.”
”Drawing nature into our lives is something people of the Pacific Northwest are especially adept at doing,” says Mitchell. “When you look at my work, I hope you pause while you’re walking down the street, in between the buildings, and think about that wilderness just out of sight.” Infringing Forest, 908 Broadway, Nov. 15, 2011 – Feb. 28, 2012.