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Joan Mitchell: I carry my landscapes around with me

I carry my landscapes around with me focuses on American abstract artist Joan Mitchell’s large-scale multipanel works from the 1960s through the 1990s. 

Mitchell’s exploration of the possibilities afforded by combining two to five large canvases allowed her to simultaneously create continuity and rupture, while opening up a panoramic expanse referencing landscapes or the memory of landscapes.

Mitchell established a singular approach to abstraction over the course of her career. Her inventive reinterpretation of the traditional figure-ground relationship and synesthetic use of color set her apart from her peers, resulting in intuitively constructed and emotionally charged compositions that alternately evoke individuals, observations, places, and points in time. Art critic John Yau lauded her paintings as “one of the towering achievements of the postwar period.”

Published on the occasion of the eponymous exhibition at David Zwirner New York in 2019, this book offers a unique opportunity to explore the range of scale and formal experimentation of this innovative area of Mitchell’s extensive body of work. It not only features reproductions of each painting in this selection as a whole, but also numerous details that allow an intimate understanding of the surface texture and brushwork. In the complementing essays, Suzanne Hudson examines boundaries, borders, and edges in Mitchell’s multipanel paintings, beginning with her first work of this kind, The Bridge (1956), considering them as both physical and conceptual objects; Robert Slifkin discusses the dynamics of repetition and energy in the artist’s paintings, in relation to works by Monet and Willem de Kooning, among others.

“What makes Mitchell great is her ability to infuse paint with an endless range of feelings. That is what gives her paintings their staying power, why they are one of the towering achievements of the postwar period.”

– John Yau, Hyperallergic

"[Mitchell] brought an enormity to her painting, whether in individual gestures—juxtaposing the large and sweeping, with the small and delicate—or in the size of the canvases themselves… In the paintings we find immensity but not monumentality (a word Mitchell distrusted), something great yet still seemingly fluid, organic, akin to nature, like the trees she frequently referenced in connection to her art."

– John Vincler, The Paris Review

“After all these years, these paintings from the ‘60s retain their musicality…”

– Jeremy Sigler, The Brooklyn Rail