Hinting at nostalgia whilst revelling in the mysterious unknown.
Entering the studio of artist Millie Kelly is comparable to entering a jungle, where the unknown looms around every corner. In this case, I wasn’t sure what was the around the corners of the canvas, or the crevices of the room itself. Large artworks stacked against walls powerfully dominated the studio, contrasting with the slivers of sticky-tape that boom ‘FRAGILE’ intermittently as my eyes moved to adjust to the space. I found myself falling into the trap of thinking two thoughts that I can now classify as mistakes. Mistake one would be believing that the space is too small, too limiting, for the towering canvases it holds. The correction to this, is that the artworks themselves, with their shifting shapes and bold characters that incite feelings of the familiar and unfamiliar, consume our attention and infinitely broaden the visual plane. Mistake two would be even momentarily thinking that the artwork is limited to the canvas itself. For this correction, the writing is, quite literally, on the wall. Smudges, streaks and splashes of paint speckle the surrounding surfaces, including Millie’s jeans. This hints at a passionate love affair with painting, which is affirmed in the well-used tubes of paint and pots that are omnipresent within the space. Spotting a small troll holding a flag next to a bright orange plant-pot revealed that in amongst this enthusiasm for painting, hides quirk and nostalgia, these being close to the heart of Millie’s artistic practice. Geographically speaking, this is not the only thing close to the artist, as she lives within walking distance of her studio complex, named Zona Mista. Being so close to her work is very important to Millie, as she finds it essential to spend time with her artworks, even if just staring at them.