Exhibition of new paintings and prints by Andew Millner
April 24, 2015 - June 9, 2015
Friday, May 1st, 2015 6-8pm
Saturday, May 2nd, 2015 11am
Miller Yezerski Gallery
460 Harrison Ave
Boston, MA 02118
Rose Parade continues my investigation into the relationship between art and nature, the natural and the made.
In 2011, interested in expanding my subject matter, I made arrangements with a float building company in Pasadena, to take pictures of floats as they were decorated for the 2012 New Year's Day parade. I was excited by the figurative possibilities of the repeating patterns of flowers.
As with my previous work, I traced over the patterns of flowers from the photos on the computer, and created a series of digital drawings. I was excited by the prospect of a "parade of paintings," a repeating, painted pattern like an EKG or Brancusi's endless column that could go on forever. I experimented on the computer, printing out large variations of scale and color. The computer's ability to repeat and mirror offered an exciting counterpoint to my freehand contour drawings and the biomorphic endless variety of repeating floral forms.
Once I had the drawing patterns, I experimented with different materials. I wanted to reconnect these digital works with materials of painting's past. I was looking back at Monet and Van Gogh, when paint began to be seen as paint while depicting something of the natural world simultaneously. I saw a water lily study of Monet's at the Met, and the lily was depicted by a single fresh line squeezed from the tube. Constructing these paintings from squeezing tubes of paint rather than a brush brought together interesting ideas of painting’s past, painting as drawing, and the paint standing in for the flower.
Fleshing out an idea takes a contradictory combination of openness and will. Since icing is a lot cheaper than paint, I began experimenting with icing. I bought a variety of different color icings and cake decorating equipment and started drawing with them. After much trial and error, I found the right viscosity and the right tools to apply a thick, spool of line. Switching from icing to paint, the pure cadmium yellows, oranges, and reds of historic paint colors corresponded easily to the flowers of the floats.
The bouquet prints explore the same subject through different means and media. There is something poignant and beautiful about cut flowers, removed from the earth and floating on a table in a glass vase like a magician's assistant floating with no means of support. These are not generic bunches of roses, but specific ones that I bought and drew individually, and then arranged into bouquets on the computer.
The titles of the bouquet prints come from a musical inspiration, Conor Oberest's song, Time Forgot.
Ivy crawls up the garden wall
Builds a ladder towards the sun
can’t be climbed but whose gonna mind
If I claim it can be done
And the sun goes down
and the stars come out
the distance that I felt I could see it for myself now
There is a tension in the song that resonates with this work. The protagonist bristles at mortality, longs for the transcendental, and is uncomfortable with both. Flowers are cut for the happiest or saddest of occasions. Bouquets are given for their simple beauty, or as stand-ins for ineffable emotions. Rose Parade wrestles with this unsettled place between the sublime and the ordinary, the natural and the made.