Everything's Coming Up Roses at Andrew Millner's William Shearburn Show

By Krystin Arneson
In Culture

Roses are everywhere at William Shearburn Gallery. There are loose circles of cinnamon, persimmon, marigold, fuchsia on one canvas, loops of snow white or night-black on others. Up until Nov. 6, this show showcases a turning point in artist Andrew Millner’s career—the ah-ha! answer a decade in the making.

"Red Rose Parade," by Andrew Millner.

“Red Rose Parade,” by Andrew Millner.

Millner’s work that led to this show can be divided into phases: a tea-set phase, which manifests here in the loose circles forming the florals; a focus on flowers-in-general, where he became entranced with the idea that our stylized idea of a flower isn’t really a flower at all—so he distilled it down until it was as simple (petals, stem) as possible. Roses came about when he began thinking about The Tournament of Roses parade in Pasadena and the ephemeral, slightly dark nature of using fresh flowers that will one day die to mark the turning of the new year (the phrase “memento mori” comes to mind for him here, as does Elliott Smith’s song, “The Rose Parade”).

“I think everyone just looks at the beauty of it but it brings to mind that it’s a very ephemeral, temporary thing that’s fitting for the New Year,” Millner says.

Andrew Millner | photo by Lou Bopp

Andrew Millner | photo by Lou Bopp

These stages produced “Rose Parade,” this current show, where paint Millner squeezes directly from the tube creates glossy, raised patterns that both adhere to and veer away from a delicate, pencil-like outline that Millner draws on the computer, then prints on the canvas. His works translations: collisions and mergings of 2-D and 3-D, machine and nature.

“I’m of an age that I knew what the world was like before the digital revolution, and now I see the revolution playing out. It’s sort of a privileged position to have one foot in both, and I always try to have my work be in both places,” Millner says.

For more on Millner’s show, check out our November issue, on stands next week.

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