GROUND LEVEL, GALLERY 4
AUSTRALIA, BORN 1977
LIVES AND WORKS BETWEEN THE LANDS OF
THE ARAKWAL, BUNDJALUNG COUNTRY (BROKEN HEAD)
AND BIDJIGAL AND GADIGAL (SYDNEY) PEOPLES
NGV Triennial features a number of works from Clare Milledge’s 2018 series, Sacks of Wind: a Rock Harder than Rock, made with the hinterglasmalerei technique – or reverse glass painting – a once-popular folk artform, which is a recurring feature in the artist’s practice. These works continue Milledge’s tradition of dealing directly with shamanic traditions, nature-magic, environment and an invented pre-history.
The series takes The Song of Amergin, from the Irish Mythological Cycle, as its starting point. The figure of Amergin, a druid and bard of the Milesian people, sang an incantation to defeat a magical storm whipped up mid-battle by his rivals. The title of each work includes a line of incantation drawn from The White Goddess, a 1948 translation by Robert Graves of The Song of Amergin. The shapes in the paintings translate the song, and show a woman’s legs, hands or the fallopian tubes and fimbriae, as well as an architectural form in the light of the moon. The glass paintings are fixed to the wall by bronze clasps that the artist calls ‘close-readers’. These clasps take forms reminiscent of animals – snakes, insects, hoofs or horns – and have an ancient and ceremonial quality to their roughly hewn shapes.
Clare Milledge completed a Doctor of Philosophy titled The Artist – Shaman and the Gift of Sight at Sydney College of the Arts in 2013. Part of her candidacy was spent at the Universität der Künste, Berlin in 2008. She is actively engaged with Norwegian contemporary art and studied at the Statens Kunst Akademi in Oslo in 2006. The artist has curated several exhibitions including the experimental laboratory Psychomagic Dead Matters at 55 Sydenham Rd in Sydney (2014). She has been a three-time finalist in the Helen Lempriere Travelling Art Scholarship in 2007, 2008 and 2010. Milledge was also awarded the Fauvette Loureiro Memorial Artists Exchange Scholarship in 2006 and 2008, which enabled her to study in Oslo and Berlin respectively