Four paintings by Milly Thompson currently occupy the compact space of Freehouse in Bethnal Green, London.
With a comical edge, Thompson's practice considers the commoditisation of the female figure in consumer society. Exaggerated forms fill her canvases, their opulence emphasised through blazing colours.
As Thompson once explained to Maria Raposo in Kids of Dada, 'There's something slutty about making paintings, because they are the easiest 'sell' by far... a cheap shot.'
Embracing the bravado aesthetic of advertising, her works sometimes toy with the grotesque to highlight the dark underbelly of desire and aspiration. In her earlier 'Anxiety Knots' (2009) sculptures, for instance, twisting intestinal forms appear jubilant in their colour, yet upon closer inspection, gruesome substances appear to ooze from them.
Between 1994 and 2004, Thompson was part of the notorious London collective BANK, whose group exhibitions confronted the mainstream contemporary art scene, with titles including Cocaine Orgasm and Sewage Lust.
Since 2000, Thompson has taught at MFA level at Central Saint Martins, Goldsmiths, and on the Painting programme of the Royal Academy of Art for the past ten years.—[O]
Main image: Left to right: Milly Thompson, Solarium Trope and Deep Vogueing (both 2020). Exhibition view: 4 New Paintings, Freehouse, London (15 October 2020–ongoing). Courtesy Freehouse.