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Impressions Gallery

exhibitions: past

Planet Yorkshire

Peter Mitchell

16th Sep - 03rd Dec 2016

Impressions Gallery presents the first ever survey exhibition of work by Peter Mitchell.

Peter Mitchell was an early pioneer of colour documentary photography in the UK and has made an immeasurable impact on contemporary photographic culture. The exhibition follows hot on the heels of Mitchell’s triumphant showing this summer at the prestigious Arles photography festival in the south of France, where his major series A New Refutation of the Viking 4 Space Mission, originally shown at Impressions Gallery in 1979, has been reconstructed in full.

Peter Mitchell has been quietly making photographs for over 40 years. He occupies an essential, yet too often peripheral, place in the early British colour documentary scene of the 1970s and 80s. This major survey will revisit work spanning Mitchell’s career, focussing on the part of the world he chose to concentrate his ever-curious photographic eye, Yorkshire.

The exhibition includes images never before shown publicly, many of which are recent photographs from Leeds, the city where Mitchell has lived and worked since 1972 and with which he has become synonymous. The exhibition also includes Mitchell’s rural landscapes, evoking nostalgia and offering a glimpse into life in the North of England.

Taken as a whole, the exhibition sheds light on the overlooked career of a pivotal photographer. With a watchful attentiveness to the world around him, Peter Mitchell has captured people and places, demolition and development over the past four decades. Planet Yorkshire will explore the breadth of Mitchell’s photographic practice to reveal an unexpected, contemporary and lightly spiritual side to his work.

Work featured in the exhibition includes:
The Derwent, a groundbreaking commission by Impressions Gallery in 1980, in which Mitchell explored the landscape and way of life along the Derwent River in Yorkshire.

In The Hydro, Harrogate Mitchell continued to demonstrate his interest in changing cityscapes by documenting the building of a then-elaborate aquatics complex constructed in the late 1990s.

Also included are a series of ‘secular prayers’  depicting shrines created by ordinary people, including the gates of Elland Road football ground following Billy Bremner’s death in 1997. Originally commissioned by the Henry Moore Institute for ArtTranspennine and shown in the setting of St Oswald’s Church, Methley, these images have not been shown publicly in almost two decades.

Anne Jackson Aged 68
commissioned by Harewood House, is a triptych presenting Anne Jackson’s tombstone in the graveyard at All Saints’ Church, flanked by two of Mitchell’s now signature scarecrows. Mitchell says of this work, ‘All photographs are the most explicit of memento mori and English country churchyards are amongst the most beautiful of places to be and take stock of our island universe.’

Annals of a Life-threatening Postcode
presents Mitchell’s recent and ongoing series concerning the relationship of his home of 34 years to ‘time and the city both’. Incorporating portraiture and landscape and documenting the detritus and graffiti, inhabitants, homes and gardens of Spencer Place, Leeds, this series reveals a more contemporary side to Mitchell’s practice and brings it refreshingly into the 21st century.


Planet Yorkshire is co-curated by Kerry Harker and Anne McNeill


Peter Mitchell
(born 1943, Manchester) lives and works in Leeds. Originally trained as a draughtsman in the Ministry of Housing and Local Government in Whitehall, Mitchell left for Hornsey College of Art in London before moving to Leeds in 1972 where he set up as a fine art silkscreen printmaker. Working there as a truck driver for Sunco, he began photographing the city on his rounds, capturing images of the factories and small shop owners, formally arranged and seen from a high vantage point atop a stepladder. His first solo exhibition was An Impression of the Yorkshire City of Leeds at the Education Gallery, Leeds City Art Gallery, in 1975. But it was his first solo exhibition in a photography gallery, the landmark A New Refutation of the Viking 4 Space Mission, at Impressions Gallery in 1979, which pioneered colour documentary photography in the UK and which had an immeasurable impact on contemporary photographic culture.
www.strangelyfamiliar.co.uk

Exhibition resources

Click here to download our free information sheet (PDF 144kb)
Click here to download our free exhibition guide (PDF 5mb)


What the papers say

The Guardian
The Yorkshire Post
British Journal of Photography
Corridor 8
Lomography
The Telegraph & Argus
The Bradford Review

Listen again

If you missed the Artist Talk with Peter Mitchell on Saturday 15 October, listen again via Soundcloud

Above image © Laura Sawyer

Francis Gavanís Ghost Train, Leeds, 1988

Francis Gavanís Ghost Train, Leeds, 1988

Peter Mitchell

Click on thumbnail below to enlarge

Francis Gavanís Ghost Train, Leeds, 1988 Kirkstall Power Station, Leeds, 1986 From the series Annals of a Life-threatening Postcode  (working title), 2016 From the series The Derwent, 1982 From the series We Build it Here, Harrogate Hydro, 1997 From the series Annals of a Life-threatening Postcode (working title), 2016 Leeds Football Ground, Shrine, from the series Art Transpennine, 1997 From the series The Derwent, North Yorkshire, 1982 From the series A Portrait of Sheffield, 1978 From the series The Derwent, North Yorkshire, 1982 From the series A Portrait of Sheffield, 1978

Comments

Great exhibition - fantastic selection of images and beautifully hung. Always a treat to come to Impressions!

Very glad to have seen this whole exhibition. Timeless.

The best I have seen anywhere this year.

Great selection of photos. A trip down memory lane.

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