Words: Andrew Frost

Photography: Zan Wimberley

Kate Mitchell’s All Auras Touch at Sydney’s Carriageworks, staged in early 2020, was one of the most ambitious installations the artist has undertaken. Using electromagnetic field equipment, Mitchell created aura portraits of volunteer subjects, the results of which were organised in the gallery space by profession as categorised by the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations. It’s this combination of the subject and objective that’s at the centre of much of Mitchell’s recent work.

“The concept of All Auras Touch was outward facing in that it involved seeking 1,023 public participants,” Mitchell recalls. “I loved speaking, meeting and working with so many people to realise the idea. You never really know which ideas will resonate and for whatever reason, this one did.”

For Mitchell, making the work was demanding but ultimately rewarding. “It was one of the best art making and exhibiting experiences to date. The Carriageworks team were incredibly supportive; they fully believed in the project [and] never doubted my ability to realise the vision.”

Mitchell’s recent works continue an interest in combining spiritual ideas with conceptual art. It’s this unlikely pair that informs her latest projects, including a piece that will tour as part of Mediumbody: Contemporary Australian Video Performance through various public and regional galleries until 2023. Mid-last year, Mitchell also took part in Hyper-linked, an online exhibition for the Art Gallery of New South Wales with The Communication Deck, an interactive Tarot- like oracle that dispenses wisdom.

“I’m currently interested in working with particular wellness subjects and popular culture practices which fall under the umbrella term New Age, for example drawing upon various healing modalities … astrology and so on, and then colliding them with another framework or a data set. It yields interesting outcomes that talk to who we are, what we value and how we exist.”

This article was originally published in Art Collector issue 95, January to March 2021.

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