Adia Millett is an Oakland, California-based contemporary artist, acclaimed for her deep exploration of basic configurations, diverse expressive practices, and experimentation with mediums. Trained in the fine arts, art history, and the postmodernist theories of cultural studies, Millett conveys her felt concerns in the discourses of the domestic, the public sphere, gender positions, and spirituality through the interdependent form and content of the abstract compositions of her works.
Millett’s paintings feature abstract, geometric shapes that imply movement – colorful forms expand and collapse freely among glittery backgrounds with hints of landscape and structural objects such as rooftops, windows and doors. While the textiles draw on the domestic and artistic traditions of quilt-making, they are pieced together, combining culturally diverse fabrics. Her process is informed by taking things apart, removing, replacing, cutting, pasting, sewing, and building, in order to discover the space where transitions occur and where stories of impermanence unfold. Her artworks and their titles evoke everyday things from flora and fauna to personal adornment, architectural sites, and ontological dilemmas. Yet Millett’s aim is not the establishment of one-to-one relationships among the observed aspects of the world and her interpretations of them. Instead, Millett’s art is an invitation to construct meaning via each viewer’s unique way of seeing during committed moments spent experiencing her work.
In 2001, she moved to New York City for the prestigious Whitney Museum Independent Study Program, followed by the Studio Museum in Harlem residency program. Millett has been a standout in numerous group exhibitions including the well-received “Greater New York” show at PS1 in Long Island City, New York and “Freestyle” at the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York. In the past, she has been included in exhibitions at the Barbican Gallery in London; The Craft and Folk Museum in LA; The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Atlanta; The Santa Monica Museum of Art; and The Contemporary Art Center, New Orleans. Millett has taught as an artist in residence at Columbia College in Chicago, UC Santa Cruz, Cooper Union in NY, and California College of the Arts. Millett’s most recent solo exhibition "Breaking Patterns" was held at the California African American Museum in Los Angeles from February to August 2019.