St. Louisan Andrew Millner’s Heliotrope, the piece of work showcased here, stunningly illustrates the almost unfathomable degree to which digital technology has revolutionized the creation of certain sorts of visual art during the past four decades, give or take.
In particular, Millner’s piece may prompt a small, appreciative smile from anyone old enough to recall with a shudder the agonies of bitmapping and dot-matrix printing (as well as ransom-note typography). Created in the halcyon days of 2019, before COVID-19 turned the world topsy-turvy, Heliotrope measures a whopping 72 by 90 inches, and its creation involved pigment print on mulberry paper – an intriguing Asian touch – mounted to linen.
From Oct. 16 to Nov. 25, William Shearburn Gallery – one of the metro area’s preeminent viewing spaces, in St. Louis’ far-western Wydown Skinker neighborhood, fronting on Forest Park – will spotlight a solo exhibition of Millner’s works entitled “Floating World.”
Heliotrope and similar creations, the artist relates, derive from “digitally collaging together the individual plant drawings from my archive and adding new silhouettes of figures into larger, artificial landscapes. They are colored with gradients inspired by traditional ukiyo prints. … The work explores the impermanence of our presence and our struggle to find a place in a conjured, artificial and ever more human-made world.”
At a glance, as the accompanying view of Heliotrope suggests, Millner’s works may call to mind a latter-day take on the venerable painting technique of pointillism and the great French post-Impressionist artist Georges Seurat. (Viewers with a rather more scientific disposition, meanwhile, may find themselves thinking of Franco-American polymath Benoit Mandelbrot.)
In any event, at a minimum, now that the government-mandated coronaviral lockdown has ended and art devotees once more can view visual art in situ instead of merely online, Millner’s “Floating World” at the Shearburn should occasion considerable joy in a year otherwise woefully bereft of that commodity.
To learn more about our featured artist, visit andymillner.com.
Metro area artists who wish to be considered for future installments of this monthly department of Ladue News should email inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Art & Soul” in the subject line.
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