Judy Millar

Questions I Have Asked Myself

Judy Millar 2020

Questions I Have Asked Myself     3 September 15 November 2020

Galerie Mark Mueller, Zurich, Switzerland

Read more

Expanded Canvas

Double Hand 2020 acrylic on billboard vinyl 250 x 690cm included in Expanded Canvas – group exhibition Baroondara Town Hall Gallery, Melbourne, Australia  23 April – 2 July 2022

Read more

Whipped Up World

Judy Millar, Whipped Up World

Whipped Up World. 27 January 2022 – 26 February 2022  Robert Heald Gallery, Wellington, New Zealand

www.roberthealdgallery.com

Read more

Clouds and Fire and Water and Air

It Was Both Light and Dark, They Say,  acrylic and oil on canvas 2021 210x160cm

It Was Both Light and Dark, They Say 2021 acrylic and oil on canvas 2100x1600mm

Read more

2 in 1: Judy Millar and Alberto Garcia Alvarez

Judy Millar 2020

Gow Langsford Gallery and Tim Melville Gallery, Auckland, present 2 in 1: Judy Millar and Alberto Garcia Alvarez a two gallery exhibition curated by Stephen Bambury. 5 August – 29 August 2020. A catalogue will be published to accompany the exhibition.

 

 

Read more

Eleven

Judy Millar 2020

Nadene Milne Gallery, Christchurch New Zealand presents Eleven.

12 June – 10 July 2020

 

Read more

Paintovers

Judy Millar Paintover Plus  acrylic oil on canvas 230x165cm

Robert Heald Gallery Wellington, New Zealand presents  Paintovers –  Opening 12 March 2020

Read more

Untitled 2005

Judy Millar

www.roberthealdgallery.com ,  presents Untitled 2005, opening September 26th

Read more

Frozen Gesture

Frozen Gesture Kunst Museum Winterthur, Switzerland. 18th May – 18th August 2018

Read more

Galerie Mark Mueller

Galerie Mark Mueller, Zurich presents the group exhibition Single, but happy.  8th June – 20th July 

Read more

Questions I Have Asked Myself

Judy Millar

«Questions I have asked myself»

the visual limits 

of now you see it

now you don’t

where is the edge of vision?[i]

In hardly any other field than the arts are our (human) limits of perception, consciousness, and comprehension so ceaselessly explored and challenged. It is the artistic search for those very liminal experiences which are able to transport us to different, previously unknown places — places of the in-between, places of the other, places of the “unthinkable”. Ultimately, artists seem to have always been driven by a desire to expand our horizons and “bring together things outside of normal classifications, and glean from these affinities a new kind of knowledge which opens our eyes to certain unperceived aspects of our world and to the unconscious of our vision.”[ii] In some cases, the artistic quest to find these places becomes a crucial part of the approach and of the work itself. They create specific spaces and places based on our shared reality, yet challenging and expanding it at the same time: simultaneously real and unreal spaces, spaces that overturn or transform the everyday – or in other words: heterotopias. The French philosopher and writer Michel Foucault outlines the notion of heterotopia to describe certain cultural, institutional and discursive spaces.[iii] According to Foucault, heterotopias can be “real places — places that do exist and that are formed in the very founding of society — which are something like counter-sites, a kind of effectively enacted utopia in which the real sites, all the other real sites that can be found within the culture, are simultaneously represented, contested, and inverted.”[iv] They are places and spaces that are in different ways separate worlds within our world, mirroring and yet distinguishing themselves from what is outside. What characterizes them is a separation from and a tension with the remaining quotidian space, but in the sense of correlations or resemblances. From this point of view, the work of Judy Millar is as much a heterotopic microcosm as it is a painterly counter-site. At Galerie Mark Müller, the New Zealand painter takes us to various intangible site of escape, containment, rest, pleasure and transformation by exploring our edge of vision.

every attempted annihilation of the image makes it richer

Six large-scale paintings from the past two years come together in the gallery’s main room. Shifting between soft pastel tones and rich violet, blue, and yellow hues, a connecting element is constituted by the ribbons and lines stretching searchingly across the surface of each painting. Like a snapshot of an endlessly moving shadow, the colors applied in part directly by hand bring the duality of Judy Millar’s artistic undertaking into focus: on the one hand, the acrylic and oil paints are clearly visible due to their tangible materiality, as is the canvas as a given and confined image carrier. The paint and its layering are thus traceable and sometimes even addressed in works such as Untitled – Paintover (2020). The paintings are clearly set within a material reality that neither conceals nor masks the fact that they are “made”. On the other hand, both color and canvas are a means to an end that allows the artist to enter a world of illusion, a second reality, in which she confronts us with the works’ incredible depth and irrepressible pull. The painterly gestures seem to reach beyond the edges of the canvas and take on a life of their own. At the same time, each gesture serves a careful attempt to question what is actually visible (and what is not), as Millar seeks to obscure, conceal, and annihilate. Color, too, has a dual function since it serves as both a medium and a mood of sorts. In this respect, the hues and nuances of color evoke an atmospheric or affective tipping point: on a temporal level, by recalling the moment of dusk or dawn for instance, as well as spatially, as an in-between space oscillating between material fact and elusive dream.

I am a painter except when I am painting, then I am no-one, no-where, nothing

The exhibition title is borrowed from the eponymous publication, which brings together Judy Millar’s key works from the past forty years as well as notes and drawings from her workbooks. The written excerpts and thoughts that she shares in this catalogue express the exceptional “push and pull” of her thinking and ideas. This tension is just as inherent in her paintings: they convey what is probably one of the most fundamental contradictions of humankind, since we both exist corporeally and inhabit a mental, fictitious world at the same time. It is precisely on this threshold between materiality and illusion, the known and the unknown, the familiar and the new, that Millar explores the visible and the invisible realms through her work. Her paintings are thus able to conjure a heterotopic counter-site or a placeless place, so to speak, that brings together two colliding realities. The artist herself might describe this place as “no-where”. But even nowhere is indeed somewhere.

Marlene Bürgi


[i] The following quotes are excerpts from the catalog published in 2021 entitled “Questions I Have Asked Myself” by Judy Millar, which not only gives its name to the exhibition at Galerie Mark Müller, but is an important point of reference.

[ii] Georges Didi-Huberman, Atlas: How to Carry the World on One’s Back, Exh.cat. Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, 2010.

[iii] Although the concept of heterotopia is highly contested, some theorists have explored it, while acknowledging its incompleteness and lack of clarity. In this particular context, it serves as a possibility to converge two independent spheres – an actual site (the painting as such and its materiality) and a counter-site (the world of painterly illusion and fantasy) in order to become a namable entity. Michel Foucault writes and talks about heterotopias on three different occasions between 1966 and 1967. The most well-known explanation of the term is given in a lecture entitled “Des Espace Autres” in March 1967 to a group of architects. See Michel Foucault, “Of Other Spaces: Utopias and Heterotopias”, in: Architecture/Mouvement/Continuité, 1984. 

[iv] Foucault 1984, 3. Moreover, Foucault describes a bewildering set of examples, including utopian communities, ships, cemeteries, brothels, museums, prisons, gardens of antiquity, fairs and many more.

Expanded Canvas

‘Expanded Canvas’ is a major exhibition at Town Hall Gallery exploring the dynamic and innovative nature of contemporary painting.

The traditional grid and two-dimensional picture planes are replaced by modern surfaces, including drop sheets, sign vinyl, virtual space, and the gallery wall itself. Colour spills, splatters, pools and stretches through the gallery space, in artworks that challenge possibilities of scale, form, colour and gesture. Pigment and brushwork are combined with elements from design, sculpture, animation and textiles to create vibrant and unexpected three-dimensional, virtual and ephemeral artworks.

‘Expanded Canvas’ showcases the ideas and aesthetics that characterise painting practice today, including artworks that reveal the continually evolving nature of the medium when fused with other disciplines and materials.

Featuring: David Harley, Lara Merrett, Judy Millar, Tom Polo, Bundit Puangthong and Huseyin Sami.

Whipped Up World

Whipped Up World – Review Mark Amery – Stuff 19 February 2022

The title of Millar’s show at Robert Heald Gallery, upstairs in Cuba Street’s Left Bank, speaks straight to my sense of the state of things this week: Whipped up World. At their best, Millar’s large expressive gestural paintings have an extraordinary ability to express a physical and metaphysical experience of space and time, as if unlocking a different dimension. 

There are two distinct sets of work here, demonstrating different pulls in Millar’s work. In the first room is the more familiar: a dominance of lithe yet muscular movement of whipping wiped strokes, twisting in and out of deep space. Millar’s abstract work has a highly evolved natural engine of its own. These strokes are at once moving skeletal body parts, sparking twisting electrical synapses, and DNA strands crackling in construction, all set within a rainbow bath of exquisite colour to be found where the ocean meets sky at dusk and dawn. 

In the second room, on bigger canvases, the works are denser, with tension and obscuration caused by thick bright slaps of paint, congealed on the surface over deeper stormier pools. There’s nothing calming here – it’s big weather conflict, as if human and nature are in struggle, and the artist meditating through action – as one title puts it – on a ‘’Doubtful Sea’’. I’m put in mind of Millar as a gardener. I find these works harder to resolve as an experience, but there’s something rewarding in the almost physical struggle they put me through.

Clouds and Fire and Water and Air

2 in 1: Judy Millar and Alberto Garcia Alvarez

In 1972 Alberto Garcia Alvarez arrived in Auckland from California having been invited here as a guest lecturer at the University of Auckland’s Elam School of Fine Arts. Alberto went on to become a Senior Lecturer at Elam, retiring from the position in 1995. 

During his tenure at Auckland University Alberto was an influential teacher. He was sought out by students who were drawn to both his knowledge of international contemporary painting and his deeply curious and enquiring personality.

Judy Millar and Stephen Bambury were two students who found a kinship with Alberto’s relentlessly questioning mind. Both came to regard him as a crucial figure in their own independent artistic developments.

This exhibition featuring the work of Alberto Garcia Alvarez and Judy Millar has been curated by Stephen Bambury and so brings the three together in a public dialogue for the first time.

The exhibition will focus on two distinct periods of Garcia Alvarez’ and Millar’s work. Paintings produced by Garcia Alvarez during his time in California in the late 1960’s have been selected by Bambury to sit alongside paintings painted during the last few years in his Auckland studio. Millar will exhibit work from 1981 when she was a student at Elam together with a number of recent paintings.

The exhibition will be held contemporaneously across both Gow Langsford Gallery, Kitchener St, Central Auckland and Tim Melville Gallery, Winchester St,  Newton, between August 4th to August 25th 2020.

A catalogue will accompany the exhibition containing previously unpublished writings by both Garcia Alvarez and Millar.

Eleven

Eleven 2019 acrylic on vinyl 11.5 x 3.2 meters

In 1971 an exhibition of 10 Big Paintings opened at the Auckland Art Gallery. All the exhibited artists were men. 50 years later Millar has painted the eleventh work for that exhibition.

The work was painted during the last months of 2019 as Millar felt urgency in the air and rolled out the largest canvas she could across her studio floor and got to work.

The situation of our current times as Covid-19 creates havoc and heartache across the planet is beyond anything she could have imagined.

Paintovers

http://www.roberthealdgallery.com, Wellington, New Zealand. Opening 12 March 2020

Paintover Body Fill 2019 acrylic and oil on canvas 210x155cm

Paintover Night’s Edge 2019 acrylic and oil on canvas 140x90cm

Paintover Fleshed 2019 acrylic and oil on canvas 140x90cm

Paintover Lit 2019 acrylic and oil on canvas 140x90cm

Paintover Placed 2019 acrylic and oil on canvas 140x90cm

Untittled 2019 acrylic and oil on paper 100x70cm

Untitled 2005

“Untitled, 2005, is both an extraordinary painting in its own right and a key pivotal work in Millar’s œuvre. Alternatively celestial or oceanic, it marks a critical juncture in her practice coincident with the consolidation of her on-going commitment to presence in both Aotearoa New Zealand and Germany and Europe. While pronounced now, this wasn’t necessarily quite so marked when it was first shown in an expansive and experimental exhibition at Auckland Art Gallery “I willcanmustmay, would like to express”from September to November that year. It was the most difficult painting in the exhibition, a building site painting or work in construction as Millar described it in an accompanying exhibition brochure. Certainly unruly, anarchic, even within an exhibition that challenged assumptions as to what painting might entail, it escalated the core motivations of her practice at that time. In an exhibition filled with actual and potential jumping off points, this painting was the most extreme, the most risk-taking and, in a very precise sense given it is such an important concern for the artist, in retrospect it seems to have been the most present.”

P. Shand 2019

Frozen Gesture

Frozen Gesture

Kunst Museum Winterthur, Switzerland

18th May  – 18th August 2019

In 1965 Roy Lichtenstein created his famous brushstrokes and in so doing transformed the subjective gesture of heroic Modernism into a trivial comic drawing, transposed into the large format of a museum.

Konrad Bitterli, Lynn Kost, and Andrea Lutz curate the extensive Frozen Gesture exhibition – a sheer range of gestures in contemporary painting, presented by Kunst Museum Winterthur. The exhibition brings together important individual pieces by outstanding protagonists of Abstract Art, such as Gerhard Richter and David Reed, with extensive work groups of contemporary artists such as Franz Ackermann, Pia Fries  and Judy Millar – to create a fascinating display of works of exceptional painterly quality and inconceivable sensory appeal.

 

The spontaneous movement of the brush on canvas mutated into a quote, the emotional exploration of depth morphed into a Pop surface in signal colors. The purported immediacy of the expressive painterly act thus became an ironic reflection on the medium of painting using the means of mass culture.

This distanced and self-reflective approach had defined contemporary painting since the end of Modernism. It highlighted the fundamental elements of the image, such as the appearance of the colors and the pigment, the color fields and their limits, and not least the application of paint in the form of a gesture.

This gesture had long since abandoned directly expressing existence in favor of any number of different discursive strategies and painterly approaches. To this day, artists underscore the problematic nature of the impact of the application of color and are forever reinterpreting it – from the gesture as a semiotic abbreviation for painting through to its diverse transformations in images.

Curators: Konrad Bitterli, Lynn Kost, and Andrea Lutz

Source.

Galerie Mark Mueller

 

Galerie Mark Mueller  presents the group exhibition Single, but happy.  Zurich, 8th June – 20th July 2019