John Millei


October 25 - November 24, 2018

Opening reception: October 25, 2018 7-9pm


John Millei, Dancer, 2018, Oil and flashe on canvas, 28 1/2 x 25 inches


 Asking questions
all the while fearing

Probing, looking,
asking, then

 Is this endless inquiry
and searching just

Fredric Snitzer Gallery proudly presents Interrogations, the gallery’s first solo exhibition of California based artist John Millei.  Composed of a selection of paintings executed over the last five (5) years, Interrogations embodies both Millei’s formal and expressive approach to painting, demonstrating his commanding ability to walk the threshold between figuration and abstraction. By approaching his paintings with an “anything goes” mentality, Millei moves freely from subject into unadulterated painterly pleasure.

Through the aperture of painting Millei navigates the question of liminality, or an in-between. His paintings often blur the boundaries between representation and abstraction, looking for what can be seen or surmised in the threshold of our collective narrative histories while citing his own cryptic, personal sources. His paintings start with an image, in some cases the image is left intact, in other cases the image dissolves in to pure form, it is always a matter of what the painting needs to feel complete. He believes it is not by what one chooses to paint, but how one paints it that brings about its meaning in a work. The images are only important as a jumping off point for the viewer to free associate and come to their own conclusions. Once one is standing in front of a painting the relationship begins.

 “Writers use words that conjure images, painters paint images that conjure words, both are working to create metaphors to describe states of consciousness.

 “When it comes to influence I could go on forever, film, children’s books etc., etc., but in the end, I am always looking for the moment where intimacy merges with our collective understanding of life.“

 Often associated with fellow contemporaries – Amy Sillman, Mary Heilmann, Laura Owens, Terry Winters, Thomas Nozkowsky, Charline von Heyl and Albert Oehlen – Millei, like all of them hold a strong belief that all paintings are first and foremost about painting itself. Painting is first a physical formal object attached to a well-documented and complicated history that they are collectively attempting to impose their personal expression onto.

 Millei’s approach to painting anticipated what is now a common practice amongst the younger generations of painters. Like artists he has been compared to, he has for 40 years moved freely between figuration and abstraction while conjuring the historical and personal with no interest in developing a personal style or approach to painting that would locate the work within the known canon. This approach to a painting practice has become normative in the practices of many of the best, young painters working today.

John Millei (b. 1958 in Los Angeles) currently lives and works in Santa Barbara, California.

His work is included in many public and private collections including the Berkley Museum, Berkley CA; Dib Bangkok Museum, Bangkok, Thailand, Frederick R. Weisman Museum, Los Angeles, Ca; LACMA, Los Angeles, CA; Colección Jumex, Ecatepec, Mexico; Legion of Honor Fine Arts Museum, San Francisco, CA; Nasher Collection, Dallas, TX.

Photography by Zachary Balber