Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Erin Milez Meditates on the Joyful Monotony of Parenthood

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#Erin Milez #painting

a family in hats and puffy coats bends down to look at a dried dandelion on the edge of the sidewalk with road cones behind them to the right

“Caution in the Wind” (2023), oil, acrylic, and flashe on canvas, 55 x 40 inches. All images courtesy of Monya Rowe Gallery, shared with permission

If we looked closely at the minutia of our lives, would we take comfort in repetition? Artist Erin Milez has built her practice around monotony and domestic habits, and in her most recent solo show, she asks us to find sanctity and humor in the mundane.

Nodding to the relatable cycles of daily life, Round and Around We Go peers over shoulders and out of wardrobes to view the intimate, joyful, and sometimes exhausting experiences of parents and children. In “Caution in the Wind,” a family dressed in wool hats and puffy coats leans down, each with the same curved back, to pick dried dandelions. “The Conductor” similarly zeros in on a quiet scene depicting a mother slicing fruit and slathering peanut butter on bread, illuminated by the glow of a perfectly organized refrigerator.

Milez describes these autobiographical paintings as mandalas, an organized configuration of signs and symbols that, like a routine task, has the power to put one in a trance. Each work begins with a sketch and a small reference piece rendered in watercolor, pastel, and a mix of other mediums. The artist then works on a larger scale, meticulously filling the canvas with domestic details like a speckled bathroom countertop or the texture of a woven rug. “I wanted every inch of these pieces to receive equal attention and care, like how a mandala would, because I needed to give a moment to and reason for everything happening in my house,” she says.

Round and Around We Go is on view through January 6 at Monya Rowe Gallery in New York. Peek into Milez’s process on Instagram.

a dense painting of a woman with a long braid down her back. she's facing a countertop, cutting fruit, and spreading peanut butter on bread. a pantry of items is behind her

“The Conductor” (2023), oil, acrylic, and flashe on canvas, 55 x 40 inches

four people each grab at clothes on hangers on a curved wooden dowel. all are are rendered in a gradient from yellow to purple

“Conveyor Belt” (2023), oil, acrylic, and flashe on canvas, 30 x 24 inches

a mother holds a baby and tries to get her to eat while a father sits to the right similarly cradling the two. food and dishware covers the table in front of them

“Phasing” (2023), oil, acrylic, and flashe on canvas, 55 x 40 inches

hands from a mother and father encircle the perimeter of the painting with a young girl in a puffy coat and pink hat at the center. one hand holds a dunkin donuts cup

“We Run On” (2023), oil and acrylic on canvas, 30 x 24 inches

a mother in a green bra and underwear and braid holds up her child by the feet in the bathroom

“Topsy Buttsy” (2023), oil, acrylic, and flashe on canvas, 40 x 30 inches

a young child is in a blue outfit in a crib wile a mother and father are at the top of the painting, the mother is in white and reading a book while the father is hunched over like a caterperllar

“A Very Hungry Caterpillar” (2023), oil, acrylic, and flashe on canvas, 55 x 40 inches

a baby sits on its mothers belly, who is lying on the floor with her hands covering her head. toys cover the floor

“All the Hope and Fire (Prometheus)” (2023), oil and acrylic on canvas, 48 x 36 inches

a painting in shades of blur depicting several sets of hands folding and washing clothes

“Laundry Monster” (2023), oil, acrylic and acrylic ink on canvas, 30 x 24 inches

#Erin Milez #painting

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