Artist Millie Benson describes her intention and process:
Using the mediums of painting and photography I’m exploring material and non-material aspects of human existence. I’m interested in the way we inhabit our bodies, move through the world, and the energy we exchange between each other within these two regions.
My image making process tends to begin with the material presenting itself first. Sometimes I might use the technique of registering my body onto the surface of the painting, or I’ll draw structured geometric shapes. The shapes loosely represent the body as a container and they sometimes refer to the womb. They may also signify spaces we create for our bodies to enter into like rooms, bathtubs or beds.
I also create three dimensional versions of the geometric shapes. I begin by photographing myself, printing the image, and folding the prints into box like package shapes. It allows me to synthesize elements of the figure in a non-traditional way.
I’m also looking for ways to explore spiritual components of people in a non-traditional way. In order to generate a fresh starting point I might set up a controlled situation in a space with another person. Using a long exposure, in low light, I’ll photograph us making gestures over an extending period of time. The exposure picks up light and color that the eye can’t. The darkness and the blurring help ease inhibitions it allows us to unfold and interact with each other in a dynamic way. This data migrates back to the paintings.
The immaterial elements present themselves in the paint, the interaction of the color and also the fluidity of the paint and the way it moves in around and through the structures.
This personal iconography and original information informs the larger paintings on canvas . The larger size allows for a more immersive experience for me and the viewer. I’m deliberately orchestrating the elements and I want to avoid hanging paint onto a fully mapped idea. There’s a spontaneity to it which keeps me engaged in a heightened and performative sort way. It’s during this time that I experience my own body and the paint in new ways. It creates new possibilities for approaching the way a painting is made how a painting can function in its static state once it’s on the wall.