Galerie du Monde is pleased to present Adia Millett’s first exhibition in Asia – “A Matter of Time”, curated by Jacqueline Francis, from November 19, 2020 to January 10, 2021. Adia Millett (b.1975) is an Oakland, California-based artist, acclaimed for her deep exploration of basic configurations, diverse expressive practices, and experimentations with mediums. Trained in 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, racial and ethnic identity, gender positions, and spirituality through the interdependent form and content of the abstract compositions on display in “A Matter of Time”. This bold, exciting new body of work asserts its aesthetic power as objects that raise questions and generates conversations about our collective times and the directions in which we are headed.
“A Matter of Time” evidences Millett’s skillful manipulation of the elements of visual expression – hues, lines, shapes, patterns, and textures. Energy is created by the deployment of colorful polygons and orbs, bent arcs and sharp angles, glittery passages, and a variety of juxtaposed cloth materials. Physical and optical, these formal qualities are conjoined with illusory effects that test our perception of movement, depth, and space. Millett challenges the audience to see construction in her practice, and in everyday, human thinking – an imperative to shift one’s outlook, as suggested in the painting titled Projection, Not Reflection.
Millett’s inspirations include built and natural environments, popular music from the past and the present, the integrity of ordinary materials, her own family history, and the complexity of lived experience. The geometries of domestic and industrial buildings are favorite starting points for Millett. She studies their structures, singly and together, and then moves to transform the whole of each single entity into an inventive recombination of shapes, line, and planes.
Millett uses traditional and non-traditional art materials, such as African-American quilts and homemade neckties made by her maternal grandmother. These matters and constituent objects are the threads that she purposefully frays in order to find and make something new. She often cuts up canvas and fabric, then pieces the fragments back together. In her new painting Resurrection,and assemblages Coming Apartand Tent House, Millett explores the stability and safety of home, castigating the state and private sector failures to provide a basic human right to the populace, a major concern in the San Francisco Bay Area where Millett resides, and in Hong Kong.
In recent years, Millett has paid special attention to the news from Hong Kong and the city’s history. The pinwheels of The Movement are playful designs that bring to mind inflated plastic balls and beach umbrellas in leisure spaces. Millett paints these icons as if they were lightweight objects falling from the sky, rather than protective barriers that made those who wield them against the rain. Yet the painting’s title summons visions of mass protest, collective action, and the tools that democracy activists used to protect themselves from pepper spray.
Millett deems death itself as change, and she sees social identity categories – race, ethnicity, gender, sex, and sexuality, as mutable. Millett believes that humans are not one thing, we are always shifting. In the family of paintings presented in “A Matter of Time”, Millett mines the potential of her painting practice for opportunities to imply movement, transition, and illusory depth. Ancient, Faultline, Everything and Nothing, and Water on the Other Side – the titles of these paintings evoke associations with the natural world and human’s place and engagement with it. They prompt thoughts of antiquity, earthquakes, existential philosophy, and the afterlife that is the opposite of the material world viewed.
Millett is undaunted by the future and its challenges, her objective is to imply transition and recollection in her work, and in all of her mediums. Adia Millett said, “I live in the beauty of impermanence.” She believes the only lasting truth is Change – there is something coming and that it is only a matter of time.
Conversation with artist Adia Millett and curator Jacqueline Francis, moderated by Ying Kwok:
Date: 21:00 – 22:00 (Hong Kong Time), November 25, 2020 (Wednesday)
Zoom ID: 928 2106 0064 / Passcode: 20201125