Grace Mikell grew up on a farm in a small Southern town in north-central Florida. She studied religion and art at Stetson University and after graduating, moved to New Orleans in the summer of 2007 to teach in the Recovery School District and make art. Her work has been shown at the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans and published in Oxford American Magazine. She will receive her M.F.A. in Painting from Tulane University in May 2012 and has been nominated for the Joan Mitchell Foundation MFA Grant Program.
Grace has two paintings featured in I have a secret wish… below is the artist talking about the series of paintings from which these paintings come.
“It started simply–three women in a house. They hide, cure, tell, keep. In peeking at their rituals, rites, and fears, this series meditates on the secrets of an insular world, but I believe that the presence of the body in these paintings can be a souce of emotional recognition. If there are mysteries in this house, I hope there are also moments of uncanny familiarity. While I don’t expect people to specifically recognize these scenes, I would like them to think, viscerally and abstractly: I’ve seen or felt or dreamed this before. The bodies in my paintings are depicted realistically, but outside of the body’s borders, fantasy intrudes, layering decorative patterns and dreamy color and light with markers of perspectival space. As these women are consumed by their routines and fleeting escapes, they no longer experience or perceive the physical world around them in “realistic” ways–their living space has become both their sanctuary and their crumbling dream world. Dichotomies of hope and despair, freedom and confinement, fantasy and reality, and exhibitionism and secrecy create spaces of tension in the paintings. The women seek safety and revel in possibility–but something darker lurks.”