Inspired by the works of Milton Avery, Santa Fe artist Gigi Mills abstracts space and forms to merely reference the physical world. Her beaches, seasides, and interiors are placed in an impossible mixture of points of view, resulting in truly imaginary spaces. An attention to flat geometric shapes, a rarity of detail, and a tendency to define her figures as silhouettes lends anonymity to her subjects. Mills deconstructs the everyday, then surprises by uniting layers of rich oils to capture ethereal images that are both intensely personal and timeless. The profound effects of nature seem to pray on the artist’s mind. Her images evoke thoughts of endurance and resurgance while also asserting the equally meaningful significance of the ordinary.
The reduction of forms to a simplified elegance is essential to her paintings. A successful piece should have the psychological and aesthetic weight to hold the viewer, to entice them to keep coming back to it. Whether she is working on a figure, a landscape, an abstract piece or still life it should attract the viewer with an interest that lies beyond its initial aesthetic impact.
Gigi works in oil, sometimes glazing to force the light to pass through many thin layers of paint. Sometimes she scratches the surface or digging out small chunks of paint in order to to reveal a little of the history of a piece, that is the under-painting of layers so important to the backbone of a painting. No matter what my current technique, style or subject matter, it is always Mill’s foremost intention to create work of extraordinary beauty with the ballast of emotional complexity.
Working in series allows Gigi Mills to tell a larger story amongst a group of related paintings. The “Procession Series” seems to have subtly spawned from her personal history of being raised within the Mills Brothers’ Circus. Burdened animals and clowns occupy a non-space en route to nowhere and conjure up the bittersweet quality of Samuel Beckett’s poetry and plays that Gigi enjoys. Elements from previous series, such as Gigi’s museum interiors, drying laundry, reclining figures, Southern women, and still-lives featuring musical instruments and fruit, often reemerge. In sketchbook pages and complex collages and paintings on bookboard, Gigi’s various series have begun to mingle.
Gigi has a BFA in Theatre from the College of Santa Fe, NM and an MA in Choreography from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. Her training results in an awareness of gesture and performance. Interestingly, many of her paintings present themselves as stage sets, where the figures and interiors are conspicuously on display. With all of their grace or awkwardness they face and confront the viewer. Gigi Mills has exhibited throughout the US, Italy, France and in China, where she was a visiting artist in Zhangjiajie in 2009.