Alison Mitchell is a South Australian visual artist. She was born in Malaysia, but spent her formative years in Australia. Growing up, Mitchell was surrounded by the natural beauty of the Australian bush and a flourishing garden, which strongly influenced her artistic creativity. Self-taught, her work is untethered from a prescribed working method, though her practice of careful observation of things intentionally arranged and composed in the studio is an old tradition. Her studies in anthropology, University of Adelaide, BA (Hons), has allowed her to bring a unique perspective to her creative practice, resulting in work that is both visually striking and intellectually stimulating.
Mitchell's work often reflects her fascination with the natural world and its interconnectedness. She has a deep interest in botanical subjects, which she explores in her ongoing exhibition titled "Unlemon - a meandering tale of citrus." The exhibition has toured various regional galleries across Australia ever since its inception at the Museum of Economic Botany in Adelaide Botanic Garden and offers a complex narrative of citrus, including its history, diverse varieties, endurance, and evolution.
Having exhibited regularly in South Australia for over three decades, her work is held in private collections both in Australia and overseas. Her artwork has been showcased at the Arcadia Contemporary Gallery in New York and she has been a finalist in several national art prizes, including the Portia Geach, EMSLA, and Doug Moran.
Mitchell sees painting as a compulsion. While she has become known for her still life paintings, they follow on from decades of life drawing practice and years of en plein air landscapes. Alison prefers not to categorize her work, which she says are the result of looking deeply, without the aid of photographs, and putting down in paint what is seen. Her still life studio is her refuge - a quiet place, an alone place - where she feels as if time stands still.
“As I paint and let my eyes gradually attune, I begin to see subtle gradations of light, shifts of perspective and intimate nuances of reality. Painting is a dance, sometimes awkward, sometimes sublime. I am happiest if I have managed to see and paint some aspect that heightens perception of the subject. I paint to ‘feel’ with my eyes, to feel the world afresh.”