Judy Millar

Against the Logic of War – Kyiv Biennial

Hollow Bones

2017, 180 x 125 x 4 cm
Acrylic and oil on canvas

This large-scale work by New Zealand artist Judy Millar, created in 2017, is unsettling despite its abstract pictorial composition. The background surface, which appears gently blurred, deploys refracted, yet strong tones ranging from yellow to reddish, violet to turquoise. The foreground is formed by an amorphous structure that at first conjures up associations with twisted branches, roots or the dried remains of organic material. Abruptly changing direction, the bands of color, with sharply contrasting dark borders and varying widths that evoke echoes of an airbrush experiment gone deliberately awry, seem to float in a kind of psychedelic vacuum. The act of painting, which Millar sees as a constant attempt to turn away from the self, despite her massive, expressive, and singular gesture, is here frozen into a solitary, inanimate universe. Only the meandering object, oscillating like a conundrum between nature and artificial appearance, unmasked by the artist as »Hollow Bones« in the title, hints at traces of former life. But this has long since been extinguished. (Susanne Jäger)