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Milly Yencken
2015 Bett Gallery Award Recipient
Scattered at the Seams
Friday 13 January to Monday 30 January 2017

 

Painting often fails to transcend itself. It is suspended; static and unresponsive yet irremediably exposed. Through a re-animation of the medium Milly breathes new life into this art-form with disastrous results. 

The substrate is disturbed and what starts as a ripple gains the magnitude of a tsunami; retreating back slowly before the inevitable flood. Like the long withdrawal and sudden exhale of a wave, the motion of breath continues to undulate the surface of the imagery and provides a haphazard rhythm to the work. The liminal spaces depicted in the animation, the rural petrol stations and car park complexes, are subsumed within this elemental chaos and the very ground on which they stand is compromised by its newly liquid state. Beneath the muddy skim the detritus of suburbia slowly sinks into darkness while the bodies of those remaining struggle upwards towards a retreating light. Occasionally these figures emerge from the watery depths and find unsteady footing within the psychological landscapes of the artist. These are characterised by the paradoxical sensations of tranquility and foreboding often experienced in areas devastated by natural and manmade disasters. 

The origins of this flood do not come from outside but, rather, from an internal rupture. Milly’s work has always addressed the layering of denial and repression that take place within ‘civilised’ society, often resulting in seismic violence and emotional outbursts. Her compulsive efforts to strip away social pretences and hold up an inverted mirror to our acceptable selves is nothing short of a cultural vivisection. Yet in this recent animation the viewer is faced with the aftermath of such a psychological spill; the destruction has already taken place and all that remains is a wasteland of our own reckoning. 

Our attraction to devastated landscapes and ruinous cities is uncanny, and this morbid fascination has been tirelessly embodied within commercial media and fine art. What is unique about Milly’s contribution is her ability to manipulate the very materiality of her work to reflect the uneasiness that accompanies these vicarious acts of doomsday survivalism. Using paint as a means of erasure Milly reduces her compositions to phantasmagoric representation, drawing on a regimental background in both figurative painting and illustration. This combination of wet and dry mediums gives the illusion of subtraction and absorption by providing a sense of legible depth within the multilayered sequences. It is a submarine excavation of the surrealist persuasion. 

This animation realises our greatest dystopia imaginings and social phobias; it is a veritable Pandora’s box of anxiety. Milly satisfies our insatiable curiosity, our undeniable urge to break the surface tension and release what lurks immediately below. Within this slippery terrain of surfaces, substrates and the human subconscious Milly’s recent work casts an inward gaze and sutures together a multi-media narrative of fragmented images and sensations. 

Milly Yencken

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Milly Yencken

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Milly Yencken

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Milly Yencken

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Milly Yencken

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Milly Yencken

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> Past exhibitions

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