Laura Millard’s current work combines large format colour photography and paint to record the complex patterns of air bubbles and currents found frozen in lake ice. Millard is interested in painterly and photographic responses to intricate phenomenon in the natural world, overlaying gestural traces indexed in the photograph and painted mark.
Five women and their Surfaces. By Nicole Laidler. Gazette Staff
The unique artistic approaches of five Canadian artists are currently on display at the Michael Gibson Gallery in downtown London.
Cathy Daley, Elizabeth McIntosh, Laura Millard, Gina Rorai and Lorraine Simms each use different artistic mediums and explore different themes to create their work.
Daley works with black oil pastel on vellum. Her whimsical drawings depict disembodied party-dresses and slender female legs that end in stiletto shoes. Daley’s dresses have an ephemeral quality, encouraging the viewer to question the relationship between fashion, fantasy and female identity.
McIntosh is the youngest artist of the group. Her large, colourful oil-on-canvas paintings are clearly influenced by pop art, presenting minimalist patterns of abstract shapes painted in cheerful primary colours against a white canvas. The paintings make an immediate visual impact, but offer little for further contemplation.
On the other hand, Millard’s cool mixed media works merit closer consideration. Millard begins with microscopic photographs of ice and then applies paint in response to the abstraction already found in nature. “Surge/Freeze” seems to capture the movement of light on water and snow, but the photographs actually depict air bubbles frozen in ice.
Rorai’s oil-on-canvas paintings are the most traditional works on display. Although abstracted by her bold use of paint, the objects in these interior scenes remain easily identifiable. Rorai paints images of other images, such as paintings and photographs, surrounded by everyday domestic objects.
The foreboding atmosphere of Simms’ oil-on-linen paintings makes them slightly out of place among the other works. The Montreal native is fascinated by an image’s ability to tell a story and the inherent ambiguity surrounding the truth presented in pictures. Although painted in oranges, reds, yellows and pinks, the shadowy, ambiguous nature of Simms’ imagery creates an unsettling effect.
Although Surfaces brings together five seemingly different artists, the exhibit is unified by the vitality and conviction inherent in each work.
Surfaces runs until May 31 at the Michael Gibson Gallery (157 Carling St.). Admission is free.
Reconsidering images of nationalism in the Canadian landscape
8 Jan 2000 – 13 Feb 2000
Curator Carol Podedworny for Burlington Art Centre
Subtitled as it is, this exhibition offers a contemporary critique of the proprietary nationalisms supported by 19th-century and Group of Seven landscape painting. The four participating artists share a strategy of opposing the localized microcosm to the grand panorama of old. Only Laura Millard (a graduate of and former teacher at NSCAD) paints; the other artists contribute photographs and photo-based works.
In Laura Millard’s paintings, the combination of doilie patterns with earth pigments assimilates her homesteader grandmother’s handiwork to the physicality of lichen-covered rock. “High-Tech Teepee Trauma Mama,” Rebecca Belmore’s installation of family portraits, deliberately confronts the anonymous “specimen” portraits and uninhabited vistas of colonialist ethnography and art. Janet Anderson’s photographs further emphasize the inhabited landscape by giving prominence to fences and other barriers. Sylvie Readman’s deliberately contrived presentation of her landscape photographs accentuates the role of vision in generating a space and positioning its subject.