From Overlooked American Infrastructure to Parisian Opulence, Three Artists Capture Their Surroundings
The environments surrounding us are shaped by more than their physical characteristics. Filtered through the minds of those inhabiting them or just passing through, they are seen through a scrim of memories, emotions, predilections, and experiences. Cities may seem like meccas of energy and ingenuity to some, while to others they may come across as overwhelming and overcrowded. A pristine natural setting far from human development may be considered a haven or a hell. The three artists whose works are currently on view at Koplin Del Rio are each uniquely attuned to their own surroundings. Their responses to the places they have lived or frequented are reflected in the paintings and drawings in “Milieu: Visions and Observations.”
For has said: “I use my hands, knives, and brushes to build and destroy with paint.”
Michelle Muldrow’s milieu is manifest through her series “In Defense of Home,” intricate paintings made on clay panels depicting scenes inspired by the military bases that characterized her childhood. Her works are richly researched on the internet, mining maps and images of blocked street views and classified sites, in addition to found and personal photographs. Using casein and graphite she achieves fluid, expressive lines and forms that combine to form very literal depictions of the bases, as in Rec Center Pool (2014), that are inflected with a sense of nostalgia.
A very different sort of site—the Beaux-Arts marvel that is Paris Opera House—fills has stated. “…[T]he old Paris Opera House…has fascinated me for nearly 30 years. It has provided me with emotionally resonant subject matter and with challenging and complex pictorial problems.” While she speaks for herself, the same could be said of Hamje and Muldrow, who have found similarly meaningful subject matter in their own milieus.