Mitchell Kehe’s latest exhibition “The difference between building and growth,” held at 15 Orient and hosted by Weiss Falk, is an evocative phenomenological exploration of the self that conjures both anatomical and abstract bodily systems. The show examines both the somatic and the psychological, indicating forms of concealment beyond what meets the naked eye.
Upon entry, viewers are met by a custom-made light column illuminating the semitransparent fabric surface of Untitled 10, 2023, featuring Kehe’s signature cryptic, amoeboid motif. Nearby, a mauve canvas studded with mushroom-like felt objects is paired with a diagrammatic painting of a liver. In the rooms that follow, paintings appear to shapeshift, signaling structures undergoing change. The same organ is variously portrayed from above, as a cross-section, and placed beneath a bulbous cloud of softened red or blue. More knobby, felt-and-rubber assemblages are also on view, but the intentional use of low lighting creates a shadowy smoke-screen effect, hindering a clear view.
Across the exhibition, Kehe subjugates materials and puts them to use. His unconventional application of canvas and see-through synthetic fabric relays transparency, repetition, and aggregation. These evanescent qualities are complemented by prefabricated wall-sconces installed in each room of the gallery. The feeling is warm, exuding an uncanny glow. Kehe’s work brims with a mystery attuned to life at its inner core. If you squint, the metaphor bleeds to the top, conveying the sense of a complex whole.