See what's on at the

Browse What's On

– Highlights

highlight
Mca Collection

MCA Collection

29 Mar - 31 Dec

highlight
Biennale Of Sydney

20th Biennale of Sydney

18 Mar - 05 Jun

highlight
Exhibition

Telling Tales

02 Jun - 09 Oct

Find out more about the

About the MCA

– News from inside the MCA

ARTBAR and Vivid meet again

Dipped in colour and drenched in light, we hand the paintbrush over to Huseyin Sami to curate this month’s MCA ARTBAR as it collides with Vivid Sydney. more

Go-go Dance: from 60s Twist to Sydney

Let’s twist! Artist Bridie Connell talks history of 60s Go-go dance & where it’s at in Sydney today more

Visual arts sector United over funding cuts

Australia Council’s recent announcement that 65 organisations will no longer receive funding under its Four-Year Funding program (previously Key Organisations), delivering a major blow to our contemporary visual arts sector. more

View the Collection

Browse Collection

– Spotlights from the collection online

highlight
Volume One: MCA Collection

Works from the MCA Collection

highlight
Collection Artist Interviews

Watch our latest interviews in the MCA Video Portal

highlight
Joint acquisitions by MCA and Tate

The Program promotes Australian art globally, helping Australian artists reach new audiences.

Nigel Milsom

Untitled (it's kept together by moving all around) 2006

Museum of Contemporary Art, donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program by Henry Ergas, 2009

oil on canvas (3 panels)

150 × 120cm

About the Artwork

Painting, as Nigel Milsom once wrote, is something he was ‘compelled to do’. He is an artist who has relied on his own curiosity about the legacy of painting history as well as his formal art school training. The influences have been far ranging: from the nineteenth-century Japanese master Hokusai to Gerhard Richter, to American painters like Edward Hopper and, more recently, Alex Katz, (who Milsom believes ‘is the man who has brought painting through the ages … now we can all do exactly what we want’). As to the source material for his own painting, the artist has commented: ‘it can come from anywhere … I will use whatever I need in order to squeeze out a different take on an age-old language.’

Milsom is a painter who thrives on exploring, extrapolating and exploiting the history of his chosen medium. Some recent subjects have incorporated still-life imagery, architectural structures and personal photographic material transformed through simple formalist picture making processes. This is evident in his lavish blue-black triptych Untitled (it’s all kept together by moving around) (2006).The title is playfully suggestive as is the subject-matter: seemingly abstract, the work reveals on closer inspection an agitated mass of brush-strokes which suggest trees buffeted by the wind; or a gothic vision of the night landscape. This suggestiveness is typical of Milsom’s surfaces – what appears to be monochromatic is in fact very painterly. The artist’s brushwork and modulations of colour, tints and tones are the means he uses to heighten the image quality rather than representational illusion. In Milsom’s terms, a painting is successful only ‘when it announces the limits of painting and shows you that whatever the image is, it’s a painting – a fabrication operating in very clear space … whether it’s illusion or not, it is just paint, a material substance that can stand for many things.’

References

Ingrid Periz, ‘Painting oblivion’, catalogue essay, Nigel Milsom / Art Project 2010, Ewen McDonald (ed), Allens Arthur Robinson, Sydney, 2010, np;

Rachel Kent (curator), MCA Collection: New Acquisitions 2009, (exhibition catalogue), Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney 2009, p 7

My aim is to develop alternative and original formal strategies that give meaning and content to experience. My work emphasises the importance of autobiographical history and local vernacular.

Nigel Milsom, 2010

Nigel Milsom

– About the artist

b.1975

Nigel Milsom’s paintings often appear to be experiments in the various treatments of gloss and matt paint. However, on closer inspection the monochromatic effect is almost always interrupted with splashes of pure colour – used to emphasise the illusion of light.

Learn more

– View also

All
Works

Related Exhibitions

In the Shop