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Exhibition showcases 20 years of artist Lisa Milroy's work

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October 5 2015

Selected works by Anglo-Canadian artist Lisa Milroy from the last 20 years of her career are to feature in a new exhibition in Wrexham.

Social Fabric opens at Oriel Sycharth Gallery, Glyndŵr University, from Monday 12 October to Monday January 22 2015.

The exhibition invites visitors to consider how the everyday activities of ‘choosing’ and ‘making’ contribute to our sense of identity and the construction of the self.

A Day in the Studio, 2000, acrylic on canvas, is pivotal to the exhibition’s theme. This painting depicts a time chart of the artist’s everyday life in the studio: getting up in the morning and arriving at the studio to prepare for work.

Time passes, the artist paints, until she decides to finish for the day. She locks up her studio and leaves, perhaps until the next morning when she will resume and reiterate the same cherished routine. Throughout the day, the artist is repeatedly shown changing her clothes – nightgown, shirt and slacks, outdoor coat, studio clothes – to accommodate each activity. The painting depicts the threshold between internal and external worlds (site of imaginative engagement), and the transformation of concepts and materials through making.

Lisa Milroy was born in Vancouver before moving to London to study. She now lives and works in the English capital, where she is head of graduate painting at the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL.

Professor Estelle Thompson, head of the division of media, art and design at Glyndŵr University, said: “Lisa Milroy is an exceptional artist with a world-class reputation and excellence in her field.

"The works on show will be paintings of items of clothing and shoes, just a small part of Lisa’s varied collection, and we are privileged to be able to show them in Wrexham for the rest of the year.”

WhileSocial Fabric presents paintings of items of clothing and shoes, motifs that have remained constant in Milroy’s practice since she began her still life depictions of ordinary objects in the early 1980s, the body is also always implied and sometimes present.

Recent interactive paintings, such as Off the Rails, 2011-14 directly involve the viewer in choice, testing notions of subjectivity, self-identification and taste, and keying aesthetic pleasure.

Still life is at the heart of Milroy’s practice: in the 1980s her paintings featured ordinary objects depicted against an off-white background.

Subsequently her imagery expanded to include depictions of objects within settings, as well as landscape, architecture and people. As her approaches to still life diversified, so did her manner of painting, giving rise to a range of stylistic innovations.

In recent years Milroy’s focus has been on installation-based paintings that often feature a performance component. Throughout her practice, Milroy has been fascinated by the relation between stillness and movement, and the nature of making and looking at painting.

Milroy was elected to the Royal Academy of Arts in 2005, and is Head of Graduate Painting at the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL since 2009.

Milroy won First Prize in the John Moores Painting Prize in 1988. She is currently Artist Trustee at Tate, and her work is held in many public and private collections.

‘Lisa Milroy: Social Fabric’ opens at Glyndŵr University Wrexham with a Private View on Monday October 12 at 5pm.

Entry to the opening night and remainder of the exhibition is free. The Oriel Sycharth Gallery is open 9am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday.

For more information email orielsycharth@glyndwr.ac.uk, call 01978 293950 or visit the website, Glyndwr.ac.uk/orielsycharthgallery

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