The Nevica Project

Ryan Matthew Mitchell

Ryan Matthew Mitchell (b. 1978) currently holds the position of Program Development Director at Jingdezhen Taoxichuan International Studio in Jingdezhen, China. He received his MFA from the University of Montana in 2005 and continued to reside in Missoula, Montana from 2005-2007 as a resident artist at The Clay Studio of Missoula. Since his years in Montana, Ryan has been selected for several artist-in-residence programs. In 2007 he was a resident at Australia National University in Canberra. He participated as a resident artist at the LH Project in Joseph, Oregon in 2008 and 2009. He was selected as one the first Americans to be an artist-in-resident at the FuLe International Ceramic Art Museums in Xi’An, China and has since participated in the residencies of Suzhou University in Suzhou China (2015), the Artists for The Western Forests of Thailand with the Thungyai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary (2015), and the Meikong River residency in Changrai, Thailand (2015).

Ryan was a resident artist at The Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis (2010), receiving the prestigious 2010 McKnight mid-career residency fellowship. While working in Montana, Ryan designed/built kilns, instructed ceramic courses/workshops, and shared a passion for the development of ceramics in the western states; Ryan now extends his contributive spirit globally to make significant contributions to the Arts and Culture in China. Ryan has curated or been featured as an artist in 12 exhibitions and has arranged for more than forty international artists to visit and create their art in China. Ryan is recognized widely for his energetic and creative output. He is also regarded for a visual language that has evolved through the blending of disparate elements of concept, materials, expression, process and craft. Displaying confidence and a fluency of materials, Ryan’s artwork asserts the importance of the maker as force and voice, but at the same time denies the logic of personal or particular narrative conventions and representations. The resulting works speak to the complex nature of shared experience. Ryan has been featured in solo exhibitions at the Holter Museum of Art (Helena, MT), Bentley Projects (Phoenix, AZ), Plinth gallery (Denver, CO) LillStreet Art Center (Chicago, Il), Biasa Art Space (Bali, Indonesia), and Jest Gallery (Whitefish, Montana). 

"Society often reacts in overwhelmed and exaggerated ways to the loss and destruction of beauty, history and materiality. Meanwhile the dailyness of the moment, its preciousness, its people and its reality are all taken rather lightly. This absurdity drives me to pursue fragments of logic and understanding through mimetic and expressive gesture. The contradiction also begs me to respond in consideration of its complexity. I stay focused on a task of placing ambiguity between specific sets of common opposing concepts like creation/destruction, past/present, symbolic/real, violence/care, and circumstance/intention. This task follows a series of basic questions that work to focus on awareness of how the seemingly chaotic and unintentional material and physical world unfolds through the human intention to preserve stability and happiness. Aesthetically, the works are reflective of the residue and rubble of the obstinate and endless global drive to create predictable structure in the world. In the end, my work remains simply a way of responding poetically to the world I see and live in. Knowing what is shared arouses empathy and commonality, however understanding also contributes to numbness and indifference. Working out expression through materials offers the opportunity to sort out, organize, and make sense of these kind of contradictions, articulate them visually and perhaps say something meaningful. In all its manifestations art serves as an offering of both resistance and reconciliation." - Ryan Mitchell