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After a long pause during the pandemic, the Sophie Davis Art Gallery is pleased to present an exhibit by Seattle-based artist Maureen Mitchell, “Freedom to Fly”.

Including 18 works of acrylic mixed media, it is Mitchell’s hope that her work “inspires a desire to reconnect to earth and nature, encouraging us to listen, respect and take greater care of our precious planet, so that in doing so we take care of ourselves, our future generations and fellow creatures.”

Per the artist’s statement, Mitchell’s process starts with taking hikes, sketches, and photographs and mixes elements from different pictures together. She then creates backgrounds from hand-painted paper monoprints, collaging them together and adding layers of acrylic glazes. The end product is a richly textured, highly colored 3-D effect.

When considering what it means to be an “older” artist, Mitchell shared, “I just turned 71 and I feel like I am just getting started! Getting older, it’s just so freeing. You stop thinking about what everyone else is thinking and focus on what comes from your heart.”

Housing Mitchell’s works, the Sophie Davis Art Gallery is a meditative place for students, staff, faculty, and community members to seek a moment of solace and connect with the beauty of nature. The exhibit will be on display through December 2022.

About the Artist

Born and raised in the Midwest, Maureen Mitchell made the move to Seattle in the 1970s and earned her BFA in Printmaking at the University of Washington. Although raising a family and holding a full-time job took precedence in the years that followed, she always found time for art. A Signature Member of the Colored Pencil Society of America, her current work in colored pencil and mixed media work is focused on nature; plants, landscape, birds, fish and insects.

Progressing from a background in printmaking and drawing, her current work in mixed media is a love affair with the give and take of process, experimentation, accident and intention. To convey a sense of the dense, organic atmosphere and strong texture that she is drawn to, she focuses on building many layers which involve extensive use of hand-painted papers, hand-pulled prints, ink, watercolor and colored pencil drawings and paintings. Additional layering of acrylic skins, paint, collaged papers and other elements continue until the work is complete.

About the Sophie Davis Art Gallery

The Sophie Davis Art Gallery was established in 2013 by a generous donation from Alan Davis, son of USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology benefactors Leonard and Sophie Davis. Since its inception, the Sophie Davis Art Gallery has provided the Leonard Davis School of Gerontology a venue in which to celebrate older artists and explore topics related to aging across the life course through the lens of creativity. It has housed rotating exhibits featuring paintings, works on paper, photography, and mixed media.

The Sophie Davis Gallery is located between the lobby and auditorium on the first floor of the Ethel Percy Andrus Gerontology Center. It is open to the public during the School’s operating hours: Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm.

Top: “Dogwood” by Maureen Mitchell

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