That Was Then This Is Now

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Click here to view the catalogue of the exhibition…

Artist and photographer, Gavin Mitchell has produced some iconic and hugely appreciated art since being represented by us here at Turner Barnes Gallery. His work has been a success both in the UK and worldwide as people from all different ways of life relate to the humour and talent within Gavin’s collections. Gavin explores juxtaposing the clash of cultures and eras in his prints, most recently his collection, ‘East Meets West,’ sees art fans and collectors eager to own such a unique take on art.

During the months March-May 2020 at our Chelmsford gallery, Turner Barnes Gallery will be hosting the upcoming solo exhibition ‘That Was Then This Is Now’ which will feature new works from multiple collections, both past and present by Gavin Mitchell.

Due to this solo exhibition being a particularly big one with new works and transformations of old pieces, we decided to re-interview Gavin to allow the public to understand a bit more about the upcoming show and what it has to offer.


The Interview


What is the story/theme/inspiration/idea behind this collection?

It has been nearly 10 years since I returned to be a full-time artist. In that time, I have evolved my mixed-media practice, each body of work has inspired the next although each has kept its own distinctive character.

As my reputation has grown and my work more widely shown Soo (owner of Turner Barnes Gallery) and I decided it would be a good time to put a show together not just focussing on current and future work but also taking a look back at earlier series of work and the journey that got me to where we are today.

The title ‘That Was Then & This Is Now’ captures the idea behind the show and the journey I have been on.


What has been an influence on the collection? E.g. Artists/Movements/certain works/historic time?

Difficult to pin down given there are several inspirations and influences in each of the works, some crossing over with one another in a cultural sense and others adapting and evolving mixed-media techniques.

In terms of inspiration I use the limitless source of cultural references that exists in our world and which enthuse, intrigue and excite. The human and material landscape is where I draw my inspiration.

All my work will start from found material that contain pictorial, literary and cinematic references. From here I begin the process of creating images that form a narrative and hopefully produce artwork that makes a positive impact on the viewer.


What is your favourite type/genre of art?

Challenging, Subversive, Original, Intriguing.

Fauvism, Dada, Bauhaus, De Stijl, Surrealism, Pop, Fluxus.

French New Wave Cinema, Magic Realism, Japanese Literature, American Underground Cinema.

Man Ray, Hannah Hoch, Marcel Duchamp, Sigmar Polke, Andy Warhol, Richard Hamilton, David Hockney, Haruki Murakami, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Akira Kurosawa.


What do you feel makes your style of work unique?

I think the re-working of old themes and re-imagining cultural landscapes.

I also try to push boundaries in terms of techniques. As a Mixed-Media artist I am never tied down to one technique or structure. I constantly explore new ways of producing new layers to my compositions.

I think these keeps my works fresh and relevant.


Gavin Mitchell in studio


What does this collection mean to you?

As an artist I think you must be prepared to bare your soul in public without the right to expect universal approval.

I hope this collection of work shows that the effort has been worth it.


What has been your biggest achievement in the art world?

To do what the 21-year-old me should probably have done, believed in myself, taken a jump into the unknown and being rewarded by being able to make a living out of selling my work.

I often pinch myself that so many people all around the world have made the conscious decision to live with my work on their walls!


Has anyone famous bought your work?

I don’t kiss and tell!


What can we expect to see in the future?

Come to the show and you will see!


What quote/word sums up your art work?

Compelling and original art that makes you pause a while

…‘we must be prepared for a journey of discovery, we must start without any preconceptions; most of all we must be open to the beauties of fortuity. Here more than anywhere else these beauties, wandering and extravagant, obligingly enrich our fantasy’ – Hannah Höch.


Tell us about your creative process; how do your works come into creation? Where do you begin?  Do you envisage the final outcome from the start or is the process more of a journey?

Thematic and material layers. I choose from found materials and assemble an image using relevant or contradictory themes… Mixed media allows you to use material layers that may be entirely different with each new project. There are no rules, I think you instinctively know when the concept, imagery and materials will work together.


We are beyond excited for the launch of Gavin’s solo show. Make sure to not miss out and come and join us for an evening of art and socialising as we start the exhibition off with a private view on 7th March 2020 2pm with drinks being served from 6-9pm.