Thursday, July 2, 2009

Also out today: Q&A with Chris Millar in National Post

I have never had a fondness for LSD or Norwegian Death Metal. So why is it that I like Chris Millar's overstuffed psychedelic paintings so much? I think it's (a) the mania (b) the cartoonish quality (c) the wacky stories Millar makes up to go along with each one. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

But if you need to find reasons to like (or just understand) the Calgary/Chicago-based painter's, you might be interested in the Q&A I did with him that's out in today's National Post. Here's an excerpt:

Q The stories you try to tell through painting are usually pretty crazy. Why?

A I guess what a lot of my paintings are about is creating characters and looking at what circumstances arise from their ideas --and usually, those are bad ideas. For example, in 2006, I did a painting called Sandwich Maker. It was about snack researchers travelling back in time to try and learn more about the invention of the sandwich, which is kind of ridiculous.

One of my goals is to create something fun and funny. As an artist, you spend most of your time trying to come up with really great ideas, so I think it's a release sometimes to come up with some pretty horrible ideas and get characters to act them out. Maybe it's a comment about being an artist and the pressure to be brilliant all the time. I'm much more fascinated by people's lack of brilliance than the opposite.

Millar's new paintings are slightly based on a bootleg of Simon and Garfunkel as done by aliens and a heavy-metal pal. Also available is a collectible record and book related to the project. Most certainly worth a look if you're in Cowtown for sure. He's showing at Trepanier Baer to August 1. Also perhaps of interest: Calgary critic Nancy Tousley's take on Millar.

Top image: Chris Millar, Bestowing the Mating Yelps, 2008. Bottom image: Chris Millar, Simon & Farfenougan & Hunter, 2009 (Record on turntable). Both courtesy of the artist and Trépanier Baer Gallery.


Anonymous said...

It should and would seem so derivative but Chris is getting away with it with a strong hand and even stronger pair of eyes.

Leah Sandals said...

Yep.... a good way of putting it.

I should also say I'm a sucker for bright and shiny objects. And Chris's works are certainly that!