01
Oct
09

Review: ‘Diction’ by Stormie Mills at Helen Gory Galerie, Prahran, Melbourne

16th September – 10th October 2009

 

Stormie Mills. 'Some days all my shadow are behind me' 2009

 

Stormie Mills (Australian, b. 1969)
Some days all my shadows are behind me
2009
Acrylic, spray paint and dirt on canvas
1370 mm x 1620 mm

 

 

This is a hit and miss show by Stormie Mills at Helen Gory Galerie in Prahran, Melbourne. Some pieces (mainly the smaller paintings) work incredibly well whilst others (mainly the larger paintings such as There is an unkroken continuity and Here I stand) fail to inspire, laden as they are with much dourness and lacking a lightness of touch.

Mills’ uses a palette of greys, blacks and whites to create layered, dripping contextless backgrounds against which his characters tell their prophetic stories. His laconic figures offer a knowing stoicism, surviving everything the world throws at them. The best work made me chuckle humorously at their delicious ironies: I feel how the character is in Some days all my shadows are behind me (2009, above). Not yet ready to quit (2009, below) portrays a boxer slumped on his stool surrounded in a halo of white paint. The heavy remarkably wax-like black carved frame reminds me of Victorian mourning frames and works well with the sentiment proposed by the painting: again I feel a direct response. Elsewhere the use of these heavy black frames less suit the works, even overpower the delicacy of some of the paintings (for example in Fabrique de Pain and Summer Solitude (both 2009)).

The best grouping in the exhibition are eight works painted on the bottom of old drawers, complete with handles and hung together (three of which are pictured below). This cohesion of concept, painting and intensities seems to bring all the ideas together in a satisfying whole, the characters trapped by the four walls of the drawers, insulated in their contextless worlds. I adored 5 fathoms for the simplicity of it’s design and execution, the use of the box reminding me of the work of Joseph Cornell and the drawing Banksy at one and the same time. Here in this work there is a generosity of spirit which some of the other work lacks, a balance between dark and light, empathy and hope.

Overall some interesting work that had me thinking and feeling but ultimately failed to convince with their melancholic melange.

Dr Marcus Bunyan for Art Blart

.
Many thankx to Helen Gory Galerie for allowing me to publish the art work in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

Stormie Mills. 'Not yet ready to quit' 2009

 

Stormie Mills (Australian, b. 1969)
Not yet ready to quit
2009
Acrylic, spray paint and dirt on canvas
610 mm x 920 mm

 

Stormie Mills. 'Not yet ready to quit' 2009

 

Stormie Mills (Australian, b. 1969)
Come on mate, Get up
2009
Acrylic, spray paint and dirt on canvas
1630 mm x 1370 mm

 

Stormie Mills. '5 fathoms' 2009

 

Stormie Mills (Australian, b. 1969)
5 fathoms
2009
Mixed media on found object
400 mm x 280 mm x 100 mm

 

Stormie Mills. The pesca costume' 2009

 

Stormie Mills (Australian, b. 1969)
The pesca costume
2009
Mixed media on found object
450 mm x 480 mm x 130 mm

 

Stormie Mills. 'Wiping the smile from his face' 2009

 

Stormie Mills (Australian, b. 1969)
Wiping the smile from his face
2009
Mixed media on found object
360 mm x 390 mm x 100 mm

 

 

Helen Gory Galerie

This gallery is now closed.

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His art work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes Art Blart, a photographic archive and form of cultural memory, which posts mainly photography exhibitions from around the world. He holds a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne, a Master of Arts (Fine Art Photography) from RMIT University, and a Master of Art Curatorship from the University of Melbourne.

Marcus Bunyan black and white archive: ‘Dogs, chickens, cattle’ 1994-95

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