'British Art Show 1990'
01/09/89The 'use value' of the bulk of the materials and objects incorporated into this current work has expired. The elements in each arrangement - cardboard boxes, wooden boxes, sections of billboard posters, metal grills etc - are either sought out or found by chance or 'salvaged'.
By collecting, selecting, editing and combining it is intended that new 'meanings' occur. The transformation of the original functions of language and materials has the potential to subvert accepted understandings, interpretations and associations.
Titles arise from, and are suggested by, symbols, handling instructions and places of origin marked on the boxes as well as by the type and nature of the materials and object used. When brought together these create a degree of tension necessary for the occurrence of potential 'meaning' within the viewer's response.
John Mitchell, September 1989
The irregularities and idiosyncrasies evident in this exhibition suggest some reappraisal of our relationship not only with nature but with the artefacts of our culture. Although a diversity of sources, mediums, styles and attitudes is the characteristic, none of the artists has simply 'appropriated' and re-presented material. A transformation has occurred in the way that ordinary things, unaltered in themselves, have been put together - as for instance in the work of John Mitchell, where boxes and packing crates are brought into relation with advertising bill-boards, forming new systems of communication...