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This June, Artereal Gallery is excited to showcase a dynamic new series of experimental paintings by Melbourne-based artist Nick Millen. Titled ‘Resolution Current’, the exhibition is the artist’s first solo outing with Artereal Gallery and presents a body of works that defy the traditional parameters of painting, incorporating layers upon layers of concrete, lime, acrylic paint and paper on stretched linen.
In creating these densely layered works, which have then been sanded back in part to reveal hidden depths of vibrant colours and a terrazzo-like painted surface, the emphasis is placed on the micro as much as the macro. Pulsating with energy, each painting contains beautiful passages of mark-making in which happenstance and the artist’s intention have collided.
Drawing parallels between the ancient art of mosaics and the contemporary visual building block of the pixel, Millen’s new works are underpinned by a fascination with image-making across time and history. Viewing these works, you almost feel as though you could be looking at a digital image being pulled in and out of focus – the visual references to the idea of image resolution, dpi and the clarity of the pixel being obvious. On the other hand, there is an undeniable weightiness and textured materiality to Nick Millen’s work, harking back to a more traditional notion of the artist’s hand being essential to the act of creation.
Although there is at some points in the creative process the suggestion of an image due to the paper image transfers that are layered into the works, the end result is an artwork that revels in abstraction. Materiality is instead given literal and metaphorical weight, with the use of lime and references to mosaics evoking connotations of broken and discarded historical fragments. Likewise, the use of concrete alludes to the excess waste and landfill that dominates our contemporary existence.
By incorporating and honouring these elements of the every day and the discarded, and placing them in a context that reminds us of the depth of art history, Nick Millen has created works that will no doubt stand the test of time.
Revealing. Experience Nick Millen.
‘Between mosaics and digital images, recurring currents persist. The pixel, the tesserae, the point; the singular element that works to form the whole combines with its kin in resolution. Whole in itself, each varied element takes on a parallel context within its wider image. This is a mode of downward abstraction. Like getting up close with a billboard advertisement, the particles appear ever more alien from the total image they help to form.
Within and without ever burgeoning technologies, fundamental modalities possess new hardware like smoky liquid. In these artworks, the intersections of varying resolution styles highlight persistent modes of image creation across time. Slim densities of concrete, lime, paint and paper lock against mosaic structures on linen.
Using sanders, the layers of material are excavated and enmeshed, forming a sculpted surface. The surface takes on an ontological fusion. Stripped back pixelated paper prints tarry alongside layers of terrazzo style concrete paint. The confluence of ancient, contemporary, artistic and labour methods expresses itself as an overlapping, iconoclastic swell – a kind of city ecology.
Micro or macro, resolution becomes the total ground for all observable objects – focused and periphery. Emergence becomes a speculative departure point from where something comes to exist beyond the material context of its elements. These works explore this dislocation from source; the moment where resolution unearths an entity that is more than the sum of its parts.’ – Artist Statement, Nick Millen
Expressing material transitions between liquid and solid states, Nick Millen’s work combines seemingly disparate elements into integrated wholes.
Paint, waste, plastics, pigments, dust, stones, sand, dye and earth are mixed with concrete and cast into solid forms. These forms/sculptures become the subjects of Millen’s paintings and are subsequently broken up and ground down into hand-dyed canvases.
Nick’s paintings and sculptures are held in private collections in New York, Taiwan, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane & Japan.
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