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Kelly Taylor Mitchell: Reunion

Nov 6, 2021 - Jan 8, 2022
12pm - 4pm

2020/2021 Working Artist Project

This round of Working Artist Projects was curated by Marcela Guerrero, The Jennifer Rubio Associate Curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

About the Exhibition

“Brown is my favorite color. It is the color of my skin, the clay of the earth, the shell of the peanut. I inherited this deep appreciation, just as I inherited a connection to The Great Dismal Swamp and its Black and Indigenous forbearers who crafted a legacy of making a way out of no way.

My beliefs are a reflection of the experiences and people that have crossed my path, in earthly and intangible ways. My use of labor-intensive handwork, ritual ceremony, and speculative histories are expressions of memory.

The ways in which I remember are sensorial. A reunion conjures the smell of wet grass after a summer sun shower, the incomparable comfort and anguish of southern heat, the sickly sweet taste of that iced tea. Reunion can transcend the outdoor gathering that awaits after a lengthy drive down I-95, endless hands of  “long game,” and first encounters with cousins, great aunts and uncles who are as unfamiliar as they are known.

A reunion is a collision. A collision of interconnected people, places, and practices; the same way that Diasporic practices of ancestor worship are as legible as long-distance phone calls with kin.

In Reunion familial lore serves as a set of bountiful seedlings for recollections that stretch their roots beyond first-hand experience, fostering spiritual technology and new mythologies. My work occupies the threshold between the real and imagined, a type of portal described best by Sethe:”

You be walking down the road and you hear something or see something going on. So clear. And you think it’s you thinking it up. A thought picture. But no. It’s when you bump into a rememory that belongs to somebody else.     Toni Morrison, Beloved, pg. 18

–Kelly Taylor Mitchell

The artist will be on site weekly, with the exception of calendar holidays, to continue work on ‘Brown is My Favorite Color’, wip.

Above Image: Film Scan, Family Reunion, Garysburg, NC (1970s), Millard C Mitchell. Hand embroidery, Kelly Taylor Mitchell.

About Kelly Taylor Mitchell

Kelly Taylor Mitchell is an artist and educator who lives and works in Atlanta, GA where she is currently an Artist-in-Residence with the Studio Artist Program at the Atlanta Contemporary and an Assistant Professor of Art and Visual Culture and the Art Program Director at Spelman College. She has participated in residencies at Minnesota Center for Book Arts (Minneapolis, MN) , Anderson Ranch Arts Center (Snowmass, CO), and Women’s Studio Workshop (Rosendale, NY). She earned a BFA from Tufts University and The School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and an MFA from The Rhode Island School of Design.

Kelly’s multidisciplinary practice centers oral history and ancestral memory woven into the fabric of the Africana Diaspora. Utilizing printmaking, papermaking, sculpture, and textiles, her work manifests as immersive installations, performative objects, and partnered artists books offering a venue for the sensorial to connect to, convey, and reimagine rituals and rites of autonomous kin, collectives, and individuals of the Diaspora. Kelly is the current Guest Editor for Hand Papermaking Magazine’s Winter 2021 Issue, ‘Call and Respond’ and has an upcoming solo exhibition Preaching to the Choir at Callanwolde Fine Arts Center (Atlanta, GA) opening  in March 2022.

Major funding provided by the Charles Loridans Foundation, the Antinori Foundation, and the AEC Trust, with additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts.