About Megan Milner
Megan Milner is currently studying at Leeds Arts University. Her practice explores her Ukrainian family identity in unflinching oil colour. Imagined space has been shaped, where time and place are disregarded as physical barriers to experiencing. She fabricates and embellishes partly told stories, folk tales, historical photojournalism, archive photographs, and written extracts.
The paintings are a projection of these, constructed and pieced together to visualise the kind of life her Great Grandad may have experienced growing up in Ukraine. Layered painterly techniques expose the way these narrative scenes are imagined; dripping and thinned oil paint keeps the viewer focused on flatness of canvas reminding of the ways these individual elements have been combined to create illusions of real life. The fractured narrative incidents are held together by a unity of painted mark and bright use of unnatural colour, creating place that appears dreamt or remembered, rather than observed or actual. There is an abolition of conventional distance, especially between the viewer and canvas. Through creating odd distortions that mimic yet misrepresent, the viewer is faced with what is true and what is false.
The paintings have been heavily influenced by Fauvism, folk art, and Iconographic Byzantine art. This overlapping of influences allows Milner to link art history to the contemporary moment. A rejection of imitative colour sets the audience into a fictitious realm when viewing the works themselves. The aesthetic curiosities assemble different histories in one single space, this allows for an inward reflection of identities as she tries and piece together her family story. Inspired by the Fauvists, her use of colour is unconventional and approached instinctively. The scale demands attention, yet these are also contemplative works that invite the viewer into a Ukraine that both exists and never existed.