Lilianne Milgrom "Milgrom on Morandi" - June 2009
June 19th - September 2009
Milgrom on Morandi ~ Ceramics and Paintings
Cross MacKenzie Gallery is pleased to present Lilianne Milgrom’s new work – a result of her artistic dialogue with the great Italian painter Giorgio Morandi. She speaks with the master through time and beyond the grave and extends our experience of Morandi’s work with her own investigation. Moved by Morandi’s powerfully quiet, meditative paintings, Milgrom has created an inspired body of work that we are proud to debut at the gallery.
Milgrom has shown she is an accomplished video and ceramic artist whose work was recently featured at the Katzen Art Center with an impressive installation about the destruction of books in Iraq. She shows her equal talent as a painter here. Her admiration for Morandi’s work and her shared sensitivity to spatial relationships, sparked her desire to inhabit Morandi more deeply. The two recent Morandi exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum in NYC and at the Phillips Collection here in Washington offered Milgrom the opportunity to commune with the paintings. She studied the subtle variations in the paintings and the abstract geometric forms used in his compositions.
“In an attempt to enter Morandi’s intimate world, I chose to recreate a selection of his iconic painted objects in three dimensional form. This allowed me the freedom to interpret his familiar objects in ‘real time,” says Milgrom.
Back in her studio, at her potter’s wheel, she recreated the bottles, vases and boxes she saw in Morandi’s paintings, firing and glazing her own versions of the compositional elements and placing pot next to pot. She arrived at new compositions that pleased her eye and began to paint, not exact recreations of Morandi’s paintings, but in a way, paintings possessed by his process. This dialogue with her predecessor is similar to Cindy Sherman’s in her photographs in which she dressed up as the subjects from iconographic paintings and then made photographs of herself in the multiple roles of subject, painter and photographer. Milgrom’s ceramic creations and paintings diverge from Morandi in their stylistic details; her color palette is rosier or bluer, her clay surface textures rougher or shinier, and the still life paintings become her own more naturalistic expressions. Milgrom’s works have less of Morandi’s spatial ambiguity.
For some ceramic artists, the objects are created as elements for a particular grouping. Gwen Hanson Piggott’s keen arrangements of her ceramics are a striking example and clearly owe a debt to Morandi. Milgrom’s ceramics are created specifically to become vessels to deconstruct the Morandi paintings and bring the artist to a deeper understanding of Giorgio Morandi’s work. Through this artistic dialogue, new works of quiet beauty have been born.