Through field research and exploration, my work interprets man’s relationship with the American wilderness.  To that end, I work on projects which increase public interest in America’s remaining back country. I use the cultural arts as a bridge for the public to understand the importance of conservation. My approach is both scientific and intuitive, meaning that the research is based on fact, but my  interpretation is often presented in otherworldly landscapes inspired by visual imagery.

The greater Everglades region has proven to be a contested landscape in need of advocates for improved water conditions. While critical themes such as sea level rise and misplaced populations are common in contemporary art, I strive to incorporate color drenched narratives within layers of constructed imagery. My work attempts to demystify Everglades’ issues by presenting the viewer with layers of photography and painting which tell the story of a unique culture under past and present conditions. Interweaving the disciplines of art, science and historical preservation through a visual medium will ultimately help people understand the wonder of Florida’s diverse habitats and inhabitants. 

As humans residing in  the Anthropocene era, we look to history and science for guidance when interpreting the rapidly changing world.  By immersing myself in critical biospheres, then using archival research, photography, sketching, painting, and writing, I attempt to understand our past and present relationship to the land. Based on written histories and outings with scientists, Native Americans and park rangers over the last 12 years in the Big Cypress National Preserve and Everglades National Park, I explore how our sense of place, or home, has had an effect on the environment.  My position as Creative Director at the Artist in Residence in the Everglades Program (AIRIE, Inc.) provides me with the perfect vehicle to share and disseminate these experiences with other artists. My work with AIRIE, combined with my art practice, are rooted in my firm desire to pass on critical interpretations of nature’s bounty in way that’s very approachable to the public at large, and that hopefully results in an awareness and appreciation of our dwindling natural resources.  

Deborah Mitchell CV