January 5, 2024
If we looked closely at the minutia of our lives, would we take comfort in repetition? Artist Erin Milez has built her practice around monotony and domestic habits, and in her most recent solo show, she asks us to find sanctity and humor in the mundane.
Nodding to the relatable cycles of daily life, Round and Around We Go peers over shoulders and out of wardrobes to view the intimate, joyful, and sometimes exhausting experiences of parents and children. In “Caution in the Wind,” a family dressed in wool hats and puffy coats leans down, each with the same curved back, to pick dried dandelions. “The Conductor” similarly zeros in on a quiet scene depicting a mother slicing fruit and slathering peanut butter on bread, illuminated by the glow of a perfectly organized refrigerator.
Milez describes these autobiographical paintings as mandalas, an organized configuration of signs and symbols that, like a routine task, has the power to put one in a trance. Each work begins with a sketch and a small reference piece rendered in watercolor, pastel, and a mix of other mediums. The artist then works on a larger scale, meticulously filling the canvas with domestic details like a speckled bathroom countertop or the texture of a woven rug. “I wanted every inch of these pieces to receive equal attention and care, like how a mandala would, because I needed to give a moment to and reason for everything happening in my house,” she says.
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