Jennifer Mills | In the echo chamber (11:11) | 2015 | watercolour, gouache, ink, pencil on paper | 82 x 110 cm
This work is part of an ongoing study of my identity through drawing. There are certain points in my personal history that draw me back and reverberate into the present. Whether I look at myself as a child in a school photograph, or in this instance, at someone else, in her school photograph. I connect with the person I was then, and the one I am now. In no particular chronology, memories flood over the image, anchored by a conspiratorial point in time…11:11
mixed media on paper
75 x 53 cm framed; 53 x 31 cm image
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What's in a name?
What's in a name?
2009 - 2011
(detail) 321 drawings, mixed media on paper
This project started with a name: mine. I found Jennifer spending time with her family and friends, celebrating weddings, showing off her new baby, lying on a beach or soliciting for a mate. What started as a curious narcissistic exercise raised interesting questions about the nature of identity, our sense of self, real and imagined. Jennifer Mills, May 2011
Jennifer Mills is a Melbourne-based artist who makes exquisitely crafted watercolour and oil pastel drawings that juxtapose the technical expertise of the classically trained artist with a more intuitively creative hand. She is a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts and the winner of the 2002 Robert Jacks Drawing Prize at the Bendigo Art Gallery. Mills' previous works have depicted a variety of animals, giraffes, goats, cows and birds all finely rendered in black and white watercolour. On each of the works a rough pastel scribble appears in much the same way as a child draws with crayon on a book. Mills says she is '...fascinated by the way scribble can change the meaning of a picture, the way graffiti on billboards changes the way they can be read'. She is interested in the way a playful scrawl can undercut an image, questioning where true creativity really lies. In Mills’ forthcoming exhibition the beautifully drawn animals remain, but this time the artist’s playful scrawling has become even more integral to the depiction of these subjects. They are now variously clothed in pastel daubs, stripes and dots. Feathered and furry characters are cozily swathed in blankets of vibrant colour, while in a particular series, bats and birds are outfitted in roughly sketched 'super hero' costumes and titled after the Hollywood actors who have played them on the silver screen. Mills’ 'graffiti' has changed the meaning of the works once again in a manner which is at once unsettling and poignant.
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State Library of Queensland
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Mills, J. Dear Jennifer, Art Monthly Australia, Issue 241, July 2011