Click on photos to enlarge.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Lisa Milroy

Banquette, Lisa Milroy
Lisa Milroy, ca. 2000
It's not often I write about living artists. Even less often do I write about artists younger than myself. Most often such artists don't have a sufficient body of work to accurately place them within the greater realm of the current art world, much less the broader context of art history. I consider such artists to be "works in progress." All that is true of British painter, Lisa Milroy. Of course, born in 1959, she's not exactly what you'd term an "up and coming" young artist. By virtually any criteria, she has "arrived." At the seasoned age of fifty-six, she's far from "over the hill," but by the same token she no "spring chicken." I guess you could say she's at that "awkward stage" in her life. Tired of the parade of geriatric clichés? Very well, let's look at her work.

Fruits and Vegetables, 1999, Lisa Milroy.
One of the major factors Lisa Milroy has going for her, aside from a great degree of maturity in her work, is the fact her and I share a similar taste in content. We both like food. We are both fond of still-lifes, and we both tend toward untraditional handling of content in all our work. At first glance there is really nothing all that untraditional in Milroy's Banquette (top). It's attractive enough to look appetizing, but bears a kind of organized, chart-like composition. Notice that rarely does on dish hide any part of that which is next to it. It seems to say, "Help yourself, but don't drip on the pristine white tablecloth." If you want to see a less traditional version of much the same content, take a look at her still-life titled simply Fruits and Vegetables (above) dating from 1999. In that Lisa Milroy tends to work through various content "series," I'm guessing both paintings were done around the same time. It's of little consequence which came first.

I could find no reliable title for this overwhelming floral assault on the senses, but a similar work by Milroy titled simply Flowers dates from 2000, which helps place it in context.
Rain, 2011-12, Lisa Milroy
Lisa Milroy was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, which I guess actually makes her Canadian. But having lived, worked, and taught in London for so long she's at least half British. At the age of eighteen Milroy went off to study art at the Sorbonne University in Paris. From there she crossed the channel to the Saint Martin's School of Art. Then, in early 1979, she transferred to Goldsmiths College, and later to the University of London. She remained in London to become the Head of Graduate Painting at the Slade School of Fine Art. She was elected to the Royal Academy in 2005, becoming a Tate Gallery trustee in 2013. Thus, she has steadily risen in stature and academic acceptance well past the point of my having any qualms about including her amongst the august body of famous (and sometimes not so famous) painters whose works have graced these pages.

Light Bulbs, 1998, Lisa Milroy

Shoes, 1985, Lisa Milroy.
One of Milroy's "breakthrough" pieces was her 1985 painting Shoes (left), a subject she periodically returns to (women tend to have a special fondness for footwear). She also paints them individually and in smaller groups featuring various styles, shapes, and sizes. I wonder if she has anything for men in a gray suede? However, more akin to her Fruits and Vegetables is her Light Bulbs (above) dating from 1998. Perhaps she painted it for men with a fondness for electrical illumination.

Tokyo, 1993, Lisa Milroy
Seamless, Lisa Milroy
In judging from her work, my guess is that Lisa Milroy, like myself, is somewhat more "left-brained" than most artists. Artists like myself have a tendency to try to "organize" stuff, both in our paintings and in real life. In more recent years, however, Milroy has veered away from non-traditional painted still-lifes, breaking toward three-dimensional, sculptural still-life installations, though most still involve some use of acrylic paints. Her more recent pieces have involved clothes (right), Japanese clothes, storefronts, paintings featuring store merchandise displays (above), and the accouterments involved in being a woman, as suggested by her Taming Session (below) from 2007. My own version of a non-traditional still-life, titled To Err Is Human is not as highly organized as those of Lisa Milroy.

Taming Session, 2007, Lisa Milroy
Copyright, Jim Lane
To Err is Human, 1994, Jim Lane


No comments:

Post a Comment