I first visited Havana in November 2016, a few days after Fidel Castro died, and just under a year before Hurricane Irma hit Cuba in September 2017. Since then, much has changed, including the hand-painted signs that punctuate the journey from the airport to the city centre, which today do not celebrate the revolution so much as the 'Unidad y...
The exhibition Beyond Boundaries at Somerset House in London (12 March–2 April 2019) marked the historic contributions of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing (CAFA) and the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London, on the occasion of their 100th and 150th anniversaries, respectively. Spread across several rooms of Somerset House's...
The National 2019: New Australian Art features work by 70 contemporary Australia-based artists split across three venues: the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), Carriageworks, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) (29 March–21 July 2019), as curated by Isobel Parker Philip, curator of photographs at AGNSW; Daniel Mudie Cunningham,...
As a piece of suspended sculpture, Millar's Gallery Four project up on the top floor alludes to an unfurling 'brushstroke', being a buckled strip made of thick laminated plywood that is painted. Like any strip this hefty band has two sides: one covered with a black and white pattern of dots and knobby protrusions that seem to reference grainy photocopying or printing and enlarging of image; the other coated with a plain, very pale pink - as if an abstracted erotic body.
Working with the process of subtraction to create gestural oil and acrylic paintings, Judy Millar investigates the relationships between painting, the body, and the three-dimensional space.
At first glance, the expressive quality of Millar's work is reminiscent of mid-20th century action paintings; indeed, she engages with the canvas on the floor like Jackson Pollock, using her entire body in the process of vigorous mark-making. However, Millar's treatment of paint diverges from the additive gestures of action painters in that she employs rags or squeegees to erase, wipe, or scrape paint off the canvas. For example, the dynamic marks in Sky Drops (2017)—seemingly dancing or swimming against the background of sky blue and pink—are a result of such subtraction. Millar rejects gesture as a means of personal expression, stating in her 2016 conversation with Ocula Magazine that 'my work is much more about drawing; it is about looking and seeing, less about "expressing"'.
Equally interested in scale and a painting's impact on its environment, Millar often digitally enlarges her paintings and turns them into monumental structures. She first adopted this method with Giraffe-Bottle-Gun (2009), a large-scale installation presented at the 53rd Venice Biennale, for which she fitted the interiors of the Neoclassical La Maddalena church with sized-up prints of her paintings made from a billboard printer. Some of the original paintings were framed and hung on the columns alongside the collection of the church, while the reproductions were cut into irregular geometric shapes, attached to wooden constructions, and erected in a labyrinthine formation. The reproduced works had been painted with a colour palette of mainly black, white, and shocking orange and yellow—a stark contrast to the dominantly subdued, white theme of the house of prayer. Immersed in the swirls of imposing scale and forceful colours, the viewer was compelled to move their bodies around the geometric walls to experience Millar's work.
Miliar similarly introduced a sense of vitality to the otherwise static architecture of the South Atrium in Auckland Art Gallery Toi Tāmaki with Rock Drop (installed 2017–2019). The work comprises an enormous sculpture suspended from the ceiling which touches parts of the stairs, the floor and the wall. Made up of many plywood structures that cut into each other like puzzle pieces, the work's surfaces are covered with digital reproductions of Millar's paintings. First painted on small pieces of paper, the original images were twisted, photographed, and blown up on a computer. There are two patterns on the sculpture: it appears colourful and lively when viewed from the top of the stairs, the replicated paintings folding and unfolding in an invisible wind; from the bottom, there are no flowing ribbons but black-and-white halftone texture that references the artist's love for comic books. Both the physical sculpture and its two-dimensional imageries morph from different perspectives, entering the surrounding space into a shifting dialogue with the viewer's body.
Millar graduated with a BFA and MFA from Elam School of Fine Arts, Auckland, in 1980 and 1983, respectively. In 1991, she undertook a postgraduate program at the Accademia Albertina in Turin, Italy, to research the work of Italian artists from the 1960s and '70s. She has been living and working between Auckland and Berlin since moving to Germany in 2005.
Selected exhibitions include Unpainting—Contemporary Abstraction, an international group exhibition of abstract art at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (2017); What: Turning the World Inside Out: 30 Years a Painter, a major retrospective of her oeuvre at Gow Langsford Gallery, Auckland (2016); and Time, Space, Existence, the Collateral Event of the 54th Venice Biennale (2011). Millar was the Wallace Art Award Paramount Winner in 2002 and a McCahon House Artist in Residence between 2006 and 2007.
Gow Langsford Gallery was established by Gary Langsford and John Gow in 1987. Now in two locations, Gow Langsford has developed into one of New Zealand's most influential dealer galleries, having mounted some 300 exhibitions over the past two decades. Gow Langsford is a commercial art space committed to fostering and promoting the best contemporary art from New Zealand and abroad. The gallery consistently strives to provide a forum through which its artists may be exposed to local, national and international audiences. This includes a regular and varied exhibition schedule as well as frequent participation at major international art events. In 2011 Gow Langsford launched a new space dedicated to editions and multiples now permanently housed in the back viewing space at the Kitchener St Gallery.
In recent years, the gallery has focussed its programme on the tenets of painting and sculpture, staging exhibitions which explore both mediums from diverse perspectives. Intervention projects by artists Katharina Grosse (DE) and Judy Millar (NZ) distinguish the gallery's painting programme, whilst sculpture by Bernar Venet (FR), Tony Cragg (UK) and Tim Hawkinson (US) affirm the gallery's commitment to varied and ambitious sculpture. The gallery is also committed to exhibiting the work of early career artists with interdisciplinary practices; painting and prints by James Cousins (NZ), the photography and video of Anthony Goicolea (US), the painting and installation of Sara Hughes (NZ), and the painterly, yet mechanical practice of Simon Ingram (NZ).
Curated exhibitions form a strong part of the exhibition schedules and provide the opportunity to work closely with artists outside of the regular programme. Exhibitions featuring practitioners such as Eberhard Havekost (DE), Feng Zhengjie (CN) and Damien Hirst (UK) enable the gallery to extend and contextualise the local dialogue.
The gallery avidly supports the growth and development of the contemporary Maori and Pacific visual arts, recognising that their uniqueness is essential to the identity of New Zealand art, particularly within an international context. The work of John Pule and Darryn George is regularly exhibited at the gallery and at international art fairs such as the Melbourne Art Fair 2009.
Gow Langsford is also a market leader in works on the secondary market. Works are available by artists such as Colin McCahon, Ralph Hotere, Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons. Featured works from the secondary market can be viewed both at the Gallery, or in our online stockroom which is regularly updated.
Gow Langsford is a member of the New Zealand Contemporary Art Dealers Association and located within the Auckland Art Precinct.
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