Blood red, jade green, and a bruising purple resonate against yellow and incandescent orange in Judy Millar’s new paintings. The colour palate is doubleedged: reminding us of the moments when nature thrills us with sunsets, sunrises and deep blue lagoons but also recalling the colours of comic books and their depictions of outer-space adventure and future doom.
Millar, a fan of popular science, describes the activity of painting as a form of space travel. When painting Millar experiences space and time merging. As the title of the show suggests, during this process she feels “swallowed in space”.
In this new group of works form becomes the graph of activity. The appearance of “things” emerges from the web of painted lines and fields of colour. Things hard to name but fleetingly apparent establish a semi-believable pictorial space. These strangely spatial paintings exude an otherworldly luminosity, as if emitting light from a distant time and place. As Millar applies then removes layers of paint from the surface of the works she seems to release energy as if an image has been held in matter and is now freed into visibility.
Millar represented New Zealand in La Biennale di Venezia in 2009. Her work is held in major institutional and private collections in Germany, Australia, China, The Netherlands, USA, Switzerland and New Zealand. Her work is currently exhibited in “Unpainting”, a large international overview of contemporary painting at The Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.