WHEN : 8th June — 27th July
WHERE : Institute of Modern Art
Every time I make a painting I’m dragging the whole history of painting with me.—Judy Millar
Post-expressionist painter Judy Millar is a paradox. She seems to do everything she can to distance herself from the old idea of authentic, expressive painting. She has made candy-coloured, heroically-scaled, parodic abstract-expressionist paintings. She has blown-up her painterly gestures using a billboard printer. She has attached these printed ‘paintings’ to giant sculptural supports (so it’s hard to tell if her painterly gestures are in competition or cahoots with the support). Now she is handpainting enlarged halftone dots.
Recently asked if she was trying to denature or dehumanise the brushstroke, Millar explained, ‘I’m not trying to dehumanise it. If anything I’m trying to rehumanise it. I’m trying to give it more authority. Despite the absurd scale, you still relate to the work through your body.’ Regardless of her apparent efforts to put expressive painting in scare quotes, Millar’s works continue to court affect. They attest to the incredible resilience and efficacy of painting—a medium that has survived (but been transformed by) its many ‘deaths’. For her show Be Do Be Do Be Do, Millar will create three site-specific painting installations, filling the IMA. She plans to work with local art students to help her complete the giant works in situ.
Millar, who represented New Zealand in the 2009 Venice Biennale, now splits her time between Auckland and Berlin. She is represented by Gow Langsford Gallery, Auckland; Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney; Hamish Morrison Galerie, Berlin; and Galerie Mark Muller, Zurich.