Mitch Thomas - Visual Artist

My approach is both kinaesthetic and tactile; employing the processes of tearing, perforating, burning, staining, embroidery, waxing, burnishing, scorching, printing, painting and drawing, to convey a physical sense of time. Time scales are also contained within some of the materials themselves: aged kimono silks are marked with water stains, rust marks, pin holes and visible signs of wear, such as frayed edges and stray threads, crystal beads speak of geological processes of heat and pressure, and plant fibres remind us of the elements that shaped their appearance through the cycles of the seasons. The viewer is therefore invited to observe and interpret material evidence that clothes time with a tangible form. Sheets of paper become containers for past events.

Each work communicates a complex visual language. This is often best “read” by the viewer when they are in close proximity. They may observe materials suspended between translucent layers of paper, made more obvious through the process of applied and melted wax. In some instances top layers have been torn back allowing for a clearer view of those that lay beneath. Perforations also only become visible by examining the surface, as do small areas stitched with embroidery thread or decorated with clear glass or crystal beads. One is drawn into a process of unfolding recognition as details are gradually revealed.

I am inspired by the material presence of ancient documents that bear the evidence of decay and transformation. They act as symbols of impermanence; miniaturised models conveying the experiences of time. I also draw inspiration from the natural world, using the rhythms revealed in driftwood or dried leaves as drawing subjects, casuarina needles to print repetitive lines, or perhaps palm bark fibres to provide both texture and added complexity.