Brent Millar: I Hope So...
‘These are paintings made with the eye, mind and heart. Below the surface, beyond mere appearance, we may experience that which is truly real – pure thought and emotion in harmony with the natural world.’ Alfons Bytautus
Edinburgh-based artist, Brent Millar, looks to nature, poetry and music to produce work of rare symbolic and emotive force.
Millar was born in Edinburgh in 1950 and studied at Edinburgh College of Art (1968-72) under the guidance of Sir Robin Philipson and Elizabeth Blackadder. After his undergraduate degree, Millar attended the summer school at Hospitalfield House, Arbroath, before gaining a scholarship to undertake a postgraduate degree in Amsterdam. During this time Millar also travelled to Berlin where he experienced the city’s lively artistic community. Millar went on to spend 17 years teaching in schools in London before returning to Edinburgh in 1992 to focus solely on his artistic practice.
Millar creates dreamlike compositions where observation and imagination blur harmoniously. Birds are a unifying theme in his practice, emerging as the symbolic link between music and nature. Starlings, goldfinches, chaffinches and swans repeatedly sweep into his paintings, defined in areas of saturated colour and delineated by bold strokes.
With a complex palette, Millar layers and re-works his compositions, contrasting areas of chaos with patches of calm. His practice extends into both print and drawing but relies on paint as his medium of choice. The influence of Picasso, Matisse and Francis Bacon permeates his work and an impressionist brushstroke is employed in his vivid flower studies. Not beholden to trend or fashion in contemporary art, Millar has forged his own path to become a respected, sought-after figure in the Edinburgh art scene.