Millar’s work, both intensely physical and highly mediated, questions the subjectivity of the artist as its seemingly empty gestures loop and swirl comically across the canvases’ surface. Continuing the instability and ambivalences present in the work these evacuated gestures fail to gel into singular images. Questioning the hierarchy of “thing” and “field” they present images in an uncertain state of either, perpetually coming undone, or emerging; a world of endless unfixed potential.
Judy Millar is one of New Zealand’s most experienced mid-career abstractionists. She rose in prominence in the mid-nineties through a series of vertical paintings that featured delicate bamboo-like horizontal marks, created through the precise removal of organic lines of paint. This interest in subtraction (or ‘unpainting’) as a painting method, is now regarded as a characteristic of her practice. In her current method of working Millar mixes into her process vigorous movement so that the remaining traces provide dramatic as well as contemplative pleasures.