Mitch Griffiths, Call of Duty (2014–2015)
Oil on canvas
150 x 119.5 cm
Courtesy the artist and Halcyon Gallery
British hyper-realist artist Mitch Griffiths produces perfect renditions, covers serious – often historic or political - subjects, creates thoughtful compositions steeped in symbolism, uses a single light source to create highlights and shadows, positions his subjects against deep dark backgrounds and paints in oils. In doing so, he creates stunning images echoing the works of Old Masters. But Griffiths’ narratives are wholly contemporary and include the power of brand names, investigates patriotism and identity, explores society’s fixation with appearance, and reflects on the current refugee crisis.
By setting ‘Call of Duty’ against a backdrop of burning oil fields with oil dripping from the soldier’s fingers, Griffiths challenges Western military involvement in the Persian Gulf and questions the morality and motives for going to war. Commenting on the propaganda used in war - to identify the perceived enemy as religion - Griffiths modified the sight of the rifle to resemble the Islamic star and crescent. The personal struggle of the soldier – as well as his role in the conflict – is reflected in his stance and open hand, while the Wilfred Owen tattoo seared into his neck acknowledges the horrific reality of war.
In 2016, Griffiths was invited to show 21 works at the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, Russia.
An exhibition of Mitch Griffiths’ work will be on display at Halcyon Gallery, 144-146 New Bond Street, London, W1S 2PF during September-October 2016
For more information, see halcyongallery.com
Hedge, issue 43, November 2016, pp66-73