Lisa Milroy

I have mentioned this artist in a previous blog post following a trip to the Saatchi gallery, but I have begun to research further into her work as I have found it to be a good point of reference for the work I am creating now.

Lisa Milroy


Lisa Milroys work explores groupings and orders of everyday use objects, she makes reference in her work to the art of the Pop Art movement, and focuses in on our relationship with objects. She chooses objects specifically with no historical art significance, and consciously avoids objects that would evoke emotion or fetishistic narrative, instead simply represents generic objects. She largely uses shadow and tone to highlight the objects on an anonymous stark background, purposefully removing the object from context – it is this stark emptiness and anonymity that attracts me to her work. In the book ‘Lisa Milroy’, a retrospect of her work compiled by the Tate, the following is written about her work:

“Emptied objects – emptied only so that they may immediately be filled with personalised meaning – are potential love objects. Or lost objects: those things which, once lost, we invest with disproportionate importance. Milroy’s objects are both loved and lost. Looking at them, we experience a rush of recognition and also pleasure. And also wonder – they are not how we remember them at all.”  

Although largely the intention in Milroy’s work is to explore the relationship between object, paint and canvas – and the way that we relate to the object through the latter two, it is emphasised that her work is not painting pictures of objects but she paints from memory, specifically appealing to how we relate to objects.

From her work, I have been inspired to explore how the removal of context and the placement of objects onto an anonymous background can change the way we relate to an object. The starkness of her work draws attention to the individual objects, and highlights them specifically without any suggestion of intended function or context. Whilst the collective nature of her paintings, I feel, draws us to develop some sort of personal narrative in terms of how these objects are supposed to relate to one another. I am really interested in exploring similar ways of working, with my attention being drawn particularly to the zips and clasps that I have been looking at.


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