Gary McMillan: Galapagos
The Art Incubator Gallery: October 16 – November 28, 2020
Harcourt House Artist Run Centre, 3rd floor, 10215 – 112 St, Edmonton
Gary McMillan is a Calgary-based contemporary painter and sculptor. In his works, McMillan thrives on the strange and is known for his dream-like, quasi-surrealistic compositions infused with ‘unexpected’ twists and turns, where logic is abandoned, and the pure energy of ‘play’ is celebrated.
Galapagos is McMillan’s most recent suite of paintings and sculptures in which the nature of quasi-surreal humanoid figures and unusual flora have been conceptually delivered through a strange model of realism. McMillan’s works in Galapagos take the viewers on the journey into a fictional land inhabited by a multitude of mysterious human-like species of unknown gender – or possible races – and surrounded by unusual natural forms. Just as Charles Darwin landed on the shores of those strange islands, the viewers will land in an invented world of unclassified beings, natural relationships, and social arrangements. The viewers might also see themselves in the role of explorers and researchers of the expedition – as the exploratory field notes and diaries accompanying this exhibition are suggesting – into this quasi-surreal world inhabited by mysterious human-like beings and experiencing situations that are unfamiliar and unexpected. The nature and the character of the works in Galapagos create a kind of socio-cultural blank slate upon which the viewer can project any kind of speculation. The search for sense among such diverse wonder may elicit in the viewers a deeper examination of the real world into which they will shortly return.
McMillan’s humanoid ‘creatures’ showcased in Galapagos are visual representations of how we socially identify and interact with each other, and how we form a canonical system of hierarchies, categories, and judgments based only on opinion or theory rather than on empirical observation, experience, and research.
Gary McMillan is a Calgary-based contemporary painter and sculptor whose works blend traditional painting practice with a mischievous inquiry into artifice and nature. From 1978-1980, McMillan attended University of Calgary, where he studied applied sciences and fine art. From 1988-1991, he studied at the Alberta College of Art + Design (currently the Alberta University of the Arts) in Calgary, which he graduated in 1991 with a Diploma with Distinction in Painting and Printmaking. Employing the use of the human figure and landscape, he currently produces themed series of paintings and sculptures infused with absurd. His works have been showcased across Canada and in the USA.
Image: Drupulants (Detail), 2019, wood, cardboard, acrylic paint, silk leaves
Courtesy of the Artist