Excerpt of catalog essay from Joan Mitchell Foundation 2002-2003 MFA Grant Recipients, 2004
Mitchell Foundation. This exhibition honors the artists (recent graduates from MFA programs)
who were awarded grants from the Joan Mitchell Foundation 2002 and 2003. I feel it is my
obligation to remind all who read this that one artist, Joan Mitchell, had the generosity and
foresight to establish a foundation that serves dozens of artists and educational institutions
each year and will likely continue to do so in perpetuity. In tandem with her tremendous gifts
as a painter, Joan Mitchell has created a legacy that we celebrate with this exhibition of
twenty young artists.
This is not an exhibition that was organized around a theme or any other curatorial
consideration. These artists come from diverse backgrounds, attended a wide variety of MFA
programs from around the country and are gathered here only because they were deemed artists
of high quality and promise. That said, this snapshot of emerging artists, however arbitrary,
does present us with a rather clear glimpse into some central ideas and issues our culture
(and to a certain extent, world culture) will be addressing in the years to come. Some of
these issues are formal and live primarily in the realm of art while many others extend well
beyond the art world into social and political arenas. In particular, many of the artists
here seem preoccupied with understanding the individual in the context of the group, the
mechanics of the private space operating within the context of the public space. Using that
thematic rubric I would like to say a few words about each artist in this exhibition.
[...] Also outside looking in is Maria Park. Hers is a world of speed and digitized experience.
The urban space, transportation and nature are conflated into one continuum- a single world
with few particulars other than the numbing rush of movement. As Park puts it, we live in a
world in which "fully simulated and automated environments are preserved and vacuum-packed
into tiny capsules." We love the rush and the angular beauty of the world she references yet
we know the experience is not authentic. It may well be however, the best we can do.