Mitch Did This 3
December 4, 2020 - October 9, 2021
About This Exhibition
Juneau-based artist Mitch Watley transforms everyday objects into complex dioramas often depicting futuristic landscapes. Sculpted figures inhabit these scenes navigating life in these other-worldly settings. Viewers will get lost in the details of these small sculptures that take upwards of a year to make.
The Alaska State Museum awards solo exhibitions to individual Alaskan artists. Artists are selected biannually and their artwork is exhibited in the temporary galleries of the museum in the Andrew P. Kashevaroff Building in Juneau.
The impetus for diorama building was to get more detail into my paintings, and to do that, I realized that I had to create them in three dimensions. I’ve been building dioramas for six years. I’m largely self-taught, figuring things out as I go. It involves a lot of looking at everyday objects differently, and trying to see them at other scales, and finding a purpose for them beyond their intended use. In these dioramas, I have transformed plastic toy pieces; repurposed apple sauce lids and orange juice bottle caps; sculpted faces and figures from scratch; and scavenged for plants that take on a new life in a new color. I build them, I have to engineer the assembly in sections, based on how I intend to paint the final version. There is a lot of planning involved, as well as experimentation with different materials. Because of this, each diorama takes up to a year to complete.