Image of a museum gallery hosting works by Jeffry Mitchell for the exhibition "Death of Buddha"

2018 | The Death of Buddha

Jeffry Mitchell

“My work is an extended meditation on labor, a healing rumination and an ecstatic outburst. At the center of my rumination is shame, insecurity, worry, fear, and desire that aspires to joy, enthusiasm, hope, and pride.” –Jeffry Mitchell

Jeffry Mitchell’s exuberant art is at once innocent and affable, welcoming to all, yet at play within his motifs are provocative meditations on sexuality, class, and spirituality. Identifying himself as a “gay folk artist,” Mitchell creates work that is both highly autobiographical and resolutely democratic. Suffused with a desire to accept and embrace the flawed aspects of ourselves and others, it could be said that Mitchell’s overarching subject is love itself. For over 25 years, this Seattle-based artist has produced distinctive drawings, prints and sculptures, weaving together references that span folk, craft, and decorative arts traditions within the context of contemporary art. Best-known for his work in ceramics, Mitchell recasts low-brow forms into studies of universal human experience.

The Death of Buddha, an immersive gallery installation combining many of the artist’s hallmark materials, methods, and reoccurring forms, reflects upon the moment that the Buddha, surrounded by his grieving disciples and all of creation, achieves Nirvana—a final enlightened state, free from intrinsic human suffering.

Funding for this exhibition is provided by the Samuel H. and Patricia W. Smith Endowment, the Robert J. and Joan W. Jarvis Endowment, and members of the JSMOA.

Jeffry Mitchell was born in Seattle, in 1958, and currently lives and works in the city. He received a BA in painting from the University of Dallas in Irving, Texas then moved to Japan to teach English. After an apprenticeship with a production potter in Seto, Mitchell received his MFA in printmaking at the Tyler School of Art, Temple University in Philadelphia. Recent one person exhibitions of Mitchell’s work include: Like a Valentine: The Art of Jeffry Mitchell, 2012-2013, Henry Art Gallery; Some Things and Their Shadows, 2009, Kittredge Gallery, University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, WA; and Shiny Happy Pretty (with Tina Hoggatt), 2008, Missoula Art Museum. In 2016, he completed residencies at both the Vermont Studio Center and MacDowell Colony.

LOCATION | The  Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art WSU is located in the Crimson Cube (on Wilson Road across from Martin Stadium and the CUB) on the WSU Pullman campus. The hours of our six galleries are Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., closed Sunday and Monday. For more information please contact the museum at 509-335-1910.