JOHN MILLEI – Anthropomorphic Abstraction | March 2 – April 13, 2013. Photo credit Philipp Scholz Rittermann
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“In my new work I am investigating personality traits of both men and women through simple abstract mark making. In all of these paintings I am painting toward a metaphoric rendering of man, in which scale is discontinuous, space abstract and forms more idealized.” – John Millei
Quint Contemporary Art is pleased to present JOHN MILLEI: ANTHROPOMORPHIC ABSTRACTION, a solo exhibition of paintings by Los Angeles-based artist John Millei. This is the second solo presentation of Millei’s work at QCA. His last exhibition featured figurative paintings titled Portraits of You. This exhibition features work from Portraits of You plus two new bodies of work, the Hat Head and Torso series. Millei calls the Hat Head series an “avatar of maleness,” sometimes stoic, seemingly ordered and set in a pattern of vertical and horizontal marks. The Torso series, by contrast contain more chaotic brushstrokes that in the end find order in shape, but not design. The lively color palette of both series denies the anthropomorphism from being too obvious. The scale of the paintings put their human quality in question by outsizing the viewer. The exhibition opens on Saturday, March 2 with a public reception from 6 to 8PM. The artist will be in attendance.
Millei has explored figuration in the past with his Procession paintings from 1997-2006, which were highly abstract as well as in 2009 with a series called Woman in a Chair (after Picasso). His newest works evoke the human form using brushstroke as a metaphor for the human body, while sometimes disregarding human shape. In this series the intuitive process of the artist outweighs the subjective matter of the paintings. Searching for the metaphoric representation of mankind, Millei has used his intuition and painterly brushstrokes to create objects of pure abstraction that are no longer just about making a portrait of one person, but represent a collective portrait of men/women. Human nature is scrawled all over the paintings.
As a professor of painting at Claremont Graduate University, Millei has been influential over a generation of painters and artists in Southern California. With solo exhibitions in Los Angeles, New York, Paris and Venice, his work has been exhibited internationally and can be found in numerous museum and private collections.