Born Pennsylvania 1986, Mitch Shiles is an artist that merges multiple media, and often vacillates between utilitarian and experiential practices. Trained as a ceramist, his processes bridge both computer aided methods and ancient craft techniques. Having exhibited both nationally and internationally, his investigations involve remixing the aesthetics of current cultures and evincing experiences that often lie unseen.
While standing in my family's garage, I noticed a fresh crack in the window. Upon closer inspection of the crack, I distinguished a small twig like artifact wedged between the split pieces of glass. It was the scaly flesh and small talons of a bird's leg, and on the other side of the window pane the tissue ended with small toothpick like bones and tendons protruding out. I could only discern that this bird had collided with the window, cracked it, and had become entrapped, with one abrupt mistake. Yet somehow, the animal was able to dismember its leg and escape, leaving no other sign of its presence.
Like the bird’s perception of the glass before colliding with it, there are many things that I cannot discern with my unaided senses. Things that often lack visual, or tangible evidence, much of my understanding comes from representations, extrapolations, and abstractions. Models and diagrams with bright saccharin hues, such as the faux coloring of an electron microscope image, the light blue veins in an anatomy textbook, or the pastel shadings of sovereignties on a map. Simulacrum with color schemes designed to delineate the confusion of reality.
The items I create, like the crack, make the window visible. They try to evince something hidden such as the force of the wind, an emotion, an electric field. While taking control away from the participant and giving it to this outside actant. By granting agency to these hidden things,I hope to create a tension between them, the participant, and the item at hand.
The creation of my work occurs in much the same way, working with both computers and clay, results in the materials and processes having a sort of affect on me. They allow for a continuum between the earth and civilization, linking me to a broad span of human history, connecting me to communities both dispersed and local, and through the exchange of my own time and effort, it forces me to consider the final items rights as an object.