September 22, 2020
For Immediate Release
ANDY MILLNER: FLOATING WORLD
October 16 – November 25, 2020
William Shearburn Gallery is pleased to announce Floating World, a solo exhibition
of work by Andy Millner.
In lieu of an opening reception, Andy will be available in the gallery for following dates in October and November.
Saturday, October 17, 10 am - 12 pm and 1 - 3 pm
Thursday, October 22, 5 - 7 pm
Saturday, October 31, 10 am - 12 pm
Thursday, November 5, 5 - 7 pm
Saturday, November 14, 10 am - 12 pm
Floating World - Artist Statement
Since 2004, I have been inputting plants and trees into the computer by drawing their contours
as simple outlines with a digital tablet and stylus. I have made hundreds of free hand botanical
drawings which I think of as a quasi nature preserve, encompassing an enormous amount of time
of looking and drawing. I always feel compelled to find an analog form for my digital drawings…
a suitable analog output often imitating traditional art materials like ink, pen or pencil. In my last
body of work, the Rose Parade, I painted over the digital lines of flowers in thick licorice like
loops of acrylic paint, the colorful, plastic paint freezing the ephemeral flowers that would
otherwise fade away a few days into the new year. Watching viewers stand in front of these
works and eclipsing the patterns with the silhouette of their bodies gave me the idea of bringing
figures back into the work, a way forward to explore the relationship between the figure and
I saw an exhibition at The Met in 2019, Tale of the Genji, work inspired by one of Japan's most
celebrated works of literature from the 11th century. I was struck by the power of the white of
the paper depicting infinite space in the sprawling screens. The relationship between the figure
and landscape, the use of gradients, mineral pigments and the white of the paper, all provided
inspiration for this new body of work.
“Floating World” comes from the Japanese term Ukiyo. Ukiyo has a complex history, the more I
explore the more there is to unpack. The original term was used by the Buddhist monks to mean
Sorrowful World, a world of pain and attachment from which they sought release. A homonymn
was co-opted in the 1600s to the 1800s to mean Floating World, an ironic reversal employed to
advertise the novel pleasures of the geisha, kabuki actors, and the burgeoning red light district
of Edo, modern day Tokyo.
My Floating World is made by digitally collaging together the individual plant drawings from my
archive, and adding new silhouettes of figures into larger, artificial landscapes. They are colored
with gradients inspired by traditional ukiyo prints, printed onto mulberry paper, and then
mounted to linen. The work explores the impermanence of our presence, and our struggle to
find a place in a conjured, artificial, and ever more human made world.
- Andy Millner