Art in Embassies – Dennis Lee Mitchell

Smoke on paper
Smoke on paper

Untitled, 2015

Smoke on paper

47 x 47 in. (119,4 x 119,4 cm)

Courtesy of the artist, Alexandria, Virginia


Small 320 (320 x 213)

Medium 500 (500 x 333)

Large 2048 (2048 x 1365)

Biography – Dennis Lee Mitchel

Dennis Lee Mitchel
Dennis Lee Mitchel

“One day about three years ago, by chance I applied smoke to a sheet of paper. Immediately, I thought the resulting image was powerful and filled with potential. Since that time I have dedicated my studio practice to working with smoke on paper.

Smoke is one of the most ephemeral of all materials. Even when it resides on a sheet of paper, it seems to do so momentarily as if it is in a transformational act.

I draw with smoke as a way to render images of our mutability. The result is a symbolic condensation of beginning and end: apotheosizing the smoke.

I may make as many as 250 or more drawings to secure two or three finished works. The process is repetitive, as I attempted to dissolve expectations, glean the essence, and execute the act while circumventing spurious ideas. Involving chance, the process produces a kind of surrealistic sensuous rendering of the finite and the infinite.”

Dennis Mitchell graduated with a Master of Fine Arts degree in ceramics from Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona after earning a Master of Arts degree in ceramics and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Fort Hays Kansas State University, Hays, Kansas. The recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships and a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, he has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions at such venues as Dubuque Museum of Art, Dubuque, Iowa, Dubhe Carreno Gallery in Chicago, and the Clarke House Museum in Chicago, Illinois. His work is held in many private and public collections, including Deloitte & Touche, Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, State of Illinois, Utah Museum of Fine Arts and others.  Recent articles on his welded clay sculptures and smoke drawings have appeared in the international periodicals Ceramic Art and Perception, Chicago Art Magazine, and Kerameiki Techni, among others.