Mills Brown, Frances' Kitchen - Original Artwork
8 x 16 inches
Acrylic, collage, and cyanotype on wood panel
Mills Brown was born in Florence, SC in 1993. In 2017 she graduated from American University with an MFA in Studio Art, following a BA in English and Art History from Wofford College in 2015.
"My work begins with the wonders and joys of my childhood in South Carolina. I embrace playfulness and pattern, revisiting the colorful worlds I dreamed up as a child. It’s also important to me that I confront the myths I grew up around. My paintings are personal, portraying specific family members, or rooms from memory, often empty of people but full of our things, with an air like someone just left through the side door.
The identities of my figures are often obscured; people are treated differently than their ornamental backgrounds, with faces that remain inscrutable. I consider how individuals choose to reveal themselves, or not, in certain spaces. In their ambiguity, I want them to hint at archetypes. To me this piece is about her, it’s about what happened here, but it’s also about many Southern women I’ve known or read about, the dramas that might play out in any of our families. In paintings of interiors, I’m interested in questions of safety. What created the warmth, intimacy, and safety in the rooms of my childhood? What were the quiet threats? How might I use color, composition, or an uncanny detail to hint at these intertwining narratives? Among themes of family estrangement, the supernatural, decay, and racial injustice, the Southern gothic genre illuminates the pressures of the past upon the present. I’m trying to seek out what this means in our contemporary moment, and how I can explore it with a full and particular visual language."
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