COLOUR CONVERSATIONS - PAINTINGS BY ARTIST MARIE-LOUISE MILLER 1 Comment
My neighbourhood, St Leonards on Sea, is a hive of creative folk - designing, creating, making - we've all been lured here by a desire to see deeper vistas, wider horizons and a sense of "creative possibilities."
People love the mix of community and villagey caring community that comes with a small town.The poignancy of a wintry seaside town is also a lure.The beautiful sadness of off-season arcades and awe inspiring sunsets can be a powerful motivation for artists to move here and none more so than my artist friend Marie-Louise Miller.
Having studied art foundation at St Martin's London and then a Fashion Promotion and Illustration course at Epsom School of Art she then spent many years designing bespoke lighting and interiors for a luxury London based design studio but has now returned to her true love; drawing and painting.
When Marie-Louise first began painting full time she shared a model and studio with another artist and although the work began, as this does with a series of life drawings, exploiting the shapes, voids and emotions of that model in a highly experimental mark-making way, her latest body of work now feels very different. It's as if that move to her own space and the fermentation that a few more years of working alone has given her, has resulted in a fresh and evolving style. Her new pieces refract distort and shard her figures with a mixture of highly energetic poses; they cleverly meld a very bold palette with an almost frosted opacity and a completely new, more muted overlay. When I look closely it feels like I'm a voyeur spying on fractured elements of a figure. I peer through chinks of dappled light and vertical blinds. Then, as you step back to survey the whole, you see with fresh clarity the bold colours and human form resonating through.
I guess it's the essence of a being an "Impressionist artist" - she creates a fresh viewpoint, texture and whole for something which we think we all know and understand. Marie-Louise makes us see the body in a fresh way. Certain hues, which she painstakingly blends, can be traced back to a particular time in her childhood - the dusty dry heat of a teenage summer in France with family for instance -she records this by mixing a particular colour that will forever be linked to a coconut-scented sun tan oil and a cloudless blue sky.
Marie Louise's new Tai Chi practice has also been finding its way into her work - her daily energy levels, and the ebb and flow of her mind and body while she works, and her reaction to the light and shade as our seasons change, affects how she makes her marks and even the rapidity of the brushstrokes.It gives her poise and concentration to put in the hours of intensive colour mixing and working.
Above is a shot of a corner of the studio with a cluster of well worn cushions, a place to rest and ponder her day's work, with each fabric linking back to a past nostalgic reminisence.
Here's what the artist feels about her own work:
...and taken from text by Sarah J Lloyd:
She paints like a poet, without thinking, all the thinking has gone into the preparation for attending to the now with everything she has. The boundaries have been imagined, space is cleared and made ready, and then she simply pays attention to what is present, immanent, arriving. She is in essence a martial artist of paint and psyche, except essences are a contested philosophical area.
Miller's paintings are about the domain of aliveness and intensity itself. Her spacious intelligent responsiveness gathers up everything in it's path, and leaves a trail of perceptions, notes, sonic, emotional, gestural and chromatic traces or equivalences for the contexts and moments she's encountered. She has an incredible capacity to submerge her awareness almost entirely when she is working, as if disappearing into her investigations. Her paintings then are an honest outcome of this intense process, they mirror her voyage and are made of her meditations, responses and reveries. "