The Milo Story
Milo Gallery opened at 6130 Wilshire Blvd. in September of 2006. For the next 2 years, we showed only the most thoughtful, compelling and beautifully executed work by an exceptional group of contemporary emerging artists. In July of 2008, we closed the door to the gallery and went private.
KC in LA - Flavorpill LA, April 2008
Max Miceli - Los Angeles Times, March 2008
Max Miceli - Flavorpill LA, March 2008
David Touster - Flavorpill LA, February 2008
Helen Gullstrom - Space, December 2007
Amy Bird - New American Paintings, No. 73, Dec/Jan 2007
Amy Bird - Open City, No. 24, Winter 2007/2008
Brian Mallman - Artweek, December 2007
Joan Tucker - Flavorpill LA, 2007
Brian Mallman - ArtScene, November 2007
Anniversary exhibition - Flavorpill Fall Art Guide 2007
Jill Sykes and Michelle Stitz - Coagula Art Journal, August, 2007
Jill Sykes and Michelle Stitz - ArtScene, August, 2007
Jennifer Martin - Jewish Journal, April 20, 2007
Dean Styers - Flavorpill LA, May 2007
Steve Gorman - Around the Galleries, LA Times, March, 2007
Amy Bird - ArtForum.com, January 2007
JC Jaress - ArtLtdMag.com, April 2007
Mark Schultz - September 2006
ArtScene, July/August 2007
If the expression, "you can't tell the forest from the trees" posits that an overly generalized formulation of an experience obscures, if not annihilates, its detailed and nuanced meanings, then Jill Sykes' and Michelle Stitz's painting of flowers, forests and trees arrives in the nick of time to save the day. After all, nature loves to repeat itself in fractal-like, obsessive patterns. By contrast, art celebrates the uniqueness of forms that can only flow from the limitless font of human imagination.
Sykes executes her botanical paintings, that hover between figuration and abstraction, in tastefully muted earth tones, while Stitz's oil-in-resin paintings present forests and flowers in their full mythical, dream-like and mystical splendor.
Though Sykes paints her petals and leaves opaquely, they nevertheless metaphorically express both boldness and vulnerability (i. e. the courage to be delicate). What's more, these forms, and her branches and stems, become the building blocks these works cum abstract compositions, where the negative spaces betwixt and between the solid objects form intricate and alluring geometric shapes, which the artist treats with an equal amount of painterly loving care.
Think of Cezanne's insights into nature's (and art's) underlying architectonic structural geometry meeting Matisse's ecstatic delight in life's freedom and lyrical flow, and you'll gain some insight into Sykes' considerable gifts, presented without an ounce of pretence in this show.
Poet Robert Bly has written that a forest casts a primordial aura, and that those who enter often become silent, as if listening to a supra-human type of music. Stitz's oil embedded in resin paintings of a forest, which occupy one gallery wall (paintings of flowers and leaves take up another) have this same effect. In fact Stitz composes her forest out of several individual paintings of various sizes, which she groups into clusters on the wall, perhaps to simulate the way trees often grown in contained groups in the woods. In an artist's statement, Stitz describes this forest as a place she once visited and one to which she longs to return.
She also acknowledges their dream-like quality, and their allusion to Carl Jung's theory of the Collective Unconscious, which states that at its depth, the psyche of people, even those historical who lived in cultures that had little or no contact with one another, produce virtually identical dream and/or art images. Likewise, the density and texture of these paintings create the illusions of pulsing, breathing three-dimensional corridors, which invite viewers to wander in, perhaps in search of adventure or their souls. Stitz augments the sensation of her work's psychological weight and depth (or perhaps counter-balances it) by enclosing each painting within a rather heavy, a one-and-a-half-inch thick solid steel boarder.
Stitz's paintings of flowers and leaves occupy a relaxed and ethereal space, as do Sykes'. However, whereas Sykes presents her foliage for the most part naturally, that is to say, configured with the familiar look of leaves on actual branches and/or stems, Stitz's splays hers loosely across her picture plane, so that the leaves and petals resemble those blown by the wind, or perceived in a dream, where they may, as they appear in some of these works, transform themselves into fish swimming in an aquarium. Let's see Mother Nature do that!
Jewish Journal, 7 Days in the Arts, April 20, 2007
In Milo Gallery's exhibition, "Perfect Illusion," British artist Jennifer Martin dissects glossy magazine images, layering paint as she retains some portions of these photographs and abandons others. Her goal is to move away from the facade of perfection toward reality. Martin is a finalist in England's Ben Uri Third International Jewish Artists of the Year Awards.
Flavorpill LA, May 2007, Issue 221
When you're being paid to produce gift portraits for the cast of Oceans Twelve, it's safe to say you've hit your stride. Hot off that special commission, painter Dean Styers tweaks his Barbra Kruger-meets-Lichtenstein angle tonight, moving away from the rainbow in a new, grayscale-only collection. (AT)
ArtForum.com, January 2007
Painter Amy Bird's first solo exhibition in Los Angeles features three bodies of work, each influenced by graphic design and sporting a pastel, natural-tone palette. The smooth brushwork, crisp figurative contours, and fluid gradients in these paintings recall the oneiric, horizonless landscapes of Yves Tanguy. Seven blue or green monochromatic paintings in the first room emulate overexposed photographs in which detail is blown out, leaving only the flat silhouettes of figures in landscapes. In Surfers #1, 2004, surfers and beach goers, some of the inordinate number of locals who mysteriously don't need day jobs, bask in Southern California's endless summer. Though aesthetically congruous with Surfers #1, paintings like Strawberry Pickers #3, 2005, feature another iconic yet much less idyllic figure from the regional landscape: the day laborer. In Strawberry Pickers #6, 2005, contours of migrant workers bent over in the field gracefully (if somewhat academically) evoke Jean-Francois Millet's The Gleaners, 1857. The perverse dichotomy of the Los Angeles population runs counter to Bird's consistent aesthetic, and class divisions are amplified through the juxtaposition of leisure and labor classes. A hunched-over figure combing for shells in the sand parallels one hunched over while picking strawberries. The back room of the gallery features seven paintings of tents in a forest. Inspired by the summer-camp ambience of Bird's alma mater, the Thatcher School in Ojai, these paintings are equally meticulous in their design and present a Jorge Pardo–meets–John Muir impression of the transcendental woods. The darker palette and conspicuous absence of figures positions these works as a contemplative space of reprieve from the city—or the crop field—in which to consider the how and why of daily life and one's relationship to the environment.
Flavorpill LA (http://la.flavorpill.net), January 2007
In Amy Bird's paintings, silhouettes of surfers and farm workers melt into common natural surroundings, ebbing and flowing in human waves along the California coast in search of endless summer and an end to poverty.
Flavorpill LA (http://la.flavorpill.net), December 2006
JC Jaress paints pictures of bodies, foodstuffs, and architectural elements using thick pigments and close cropping for added surrealism. His visual sampler of the everyday is like the sexiest TV dinner you've ever eaten.
ArtLtdMag.com, April 2007
JC Jaress likes to contemplate the overload of contemporary life. His paintings are multi-image meditations on the amount of visual information we receive on a daily basis—and, more importantly, what goes on underneath the surface of our visceral reception of this iconography.
"We ourselves are a bunch of parts," says the artist. "We're not whole, we have a number of faces and roles, a bunch of parts to play. You wake up, barely, and you're bombarded with images, and we think we're not responding but we are. It's informing us. All the time."
While We Weren't Watching (2002) is a typical series of juxtapositions: a man points a gun, a salacious close-up of a woman's body, an equally detailed rendition of a TV dinner all vie within the picture frame. While the effect on the eye is one that evokes a kind of automatic consciousness—a visual equivalent, say, of William Burroughs' ‘cut-up' writing style—Jaress is careful to marshal his sources so that they relate in specific ways beyond arbitrary automatism. For one thing, just about every person in the series has their identity subsumed: either by judicious cropping, hidden by their own hand, facing away from the viewer, or backlit by an eradicating sunlight.
In evoking overload, Jaress' obvious references are television and film. Born in 1963, he readily acknowledges the influence of growing up as a viewer. The scenes in his paintings often evoke a sense of nostalgia: the men are private detectives, the women cheesecake, the cameras and paraphernalia redolent of a pre-digital age.
"The paintings are definitely hyper... pushed a little. It's all Kodacolor. If the source is blue, then I push it to turquoise."
In some cases he produces static equivalents of a crash edit or overlay—similarly composed images framed in close proximity that cause a kinetic disjunction. Given the big screen conjunction, it's not surprising that violence and sex are evident in his work, either specifically or by implication in his objectification of flesh and consumer products next to one another. Elevated perspectives shift radically from one segment of a painting to another, further causing disorientation.
"The paintings are intended to be aggressive, but I also want to work towards another reading. For example, you look at an advert for jeans in Vanity Fair, and the model is naked. It's not logical, but we see it on the page and get it."
Jaress aims for a simulacruma of the meta-language of dominant pop culture, and each painting purposefully confounds the viewer to fill in the gaps—spatial or chronological—between his ‘scenes.' Meaning remains elusive, however, despite thematic clues left tantalizingly close to the surface of the paint.
"At a recent opening someone came up to me and talked about what a painting meant to them, their reading, but they had no idea how autobiographical it was to me," said Jaress. "You paint a clown and one person loves it. Another is scared. In some ways people who have met for the first time have a much more common language than people in a long-term relationship, because we assume commonality in order to communicate. It's when we think we know each other that misunderstandings start."
JC Jaress' work is available at:
Milo Gallery, Los Angeles, (323) 935-3662
McLean Fine Art, South Pasadena, (626) 799-1369
by Bimon Herbert
Flavorpill LA (http://la.flavorpill.net), September 2006
Mixed-media artist Mark Schultz turns everything you thought you knew about collage on its head in this exhibition of remarkable OCD-noir images. Taking on everything from landscape vistas to blonde bombshells made entirely out of tiny pieces of paper, he wields his glue gun like a paint brush. Schultz's compositions offer more than just intriguing narratives; they have all the sensuality, visual dexterity, and physical presence of oil paintings. Of course, as the convoluted, obsessive process of their creation becomes clear, Schultz seems less like a lyrical poet and more like a mad scientist.
Coagula Art Journal, Monday, July 2, 2007
The LowDown on High Art
The Zen of Nature or Nature as Meditation
In "VERDURE," MODERN BOTANICALS ON CANVAS AND RESIN, AT MILO GALLERY, both Jill Sykes and Michelle Stitz use nature as both a metaphor and a meditation. Jill Sykes' sensuous oil paintings on canvas of bamboo stalks and leaves strongly emphasize the negative shapes, with background and foreground continually shifting and equivocating. These images - which hover between abstraction and figuration - play with one's perception of reality. At first the images seem clearly to be a rendering of physical, solid and concrete stalks, leaves or branches. However, the longer and more intensely one looks, the more the stalks and leaves start to recede and the background jumps forward. This begs the question - Are our eyes deceiving us? Are we really seeing the shadow of the plant on a solid wall, or floor and not the actual object itself? It is at this point, that I begin to think of the analogy of Plato's cave and his rumination on the true perception of reality. How does Sykes create this conundrum?
As a consummate painter, Sykes creates luscious and juicy almost expressionistic surfaces. What looks like a solid color from afar is in actuality subtle variations scumbled lightly together. While each stalk or leaf has a vibrating edge (not unlike Wayne Thiebaud) either due to the underpainting bleeding through or intentional outlining with a vibrant red, violet or pink, the interior of the leaf is often rendered in a gauzy, greyed color. This creates a push-pull effect, as one is drawn to the graphic often hard edge of the object and then alternately fixates on the negative shape. Sykes has stated that she likes to focus on what she calls the "random patterning" inherent in plant life, which creates a rippling rhythm across the canvas. In "Joss" (2007, oil on canvas, 16 X 16"), "Big Joss I" (2007, 30 X 36"), and "Big Joss II" (2007, oil on canvas, 30 X 36") Sykes' tightly cropped images of bamboo stalks dramatically dissect the picture plane of each painting, creating bold and elegant images that are reminiscent of the late nineteenth century Art Nouveau style. The evanescent gold negative space in all three paintings is as sensuously painted as the stalks and gives the illusion of light emanating forth, as in stained glass. The stained glass quality is heightened by Sykes as she outlines the negative space with a contrasting color, which accentuates the flatness of the picture plane.
In the small scale painting entitled "Mr. Eliot" (2007, oil on canvas, 18 X 24"), light appears like dappled sunlight on still water peeking through the tiny cluster of leaves. The indistinct blue-gray shape of the leaves is ringed by an unexpectedly delicate pink line. Intimate and elegant, this shimmering image radiates both heat and light, and smacks of a sizzling summer day.
"Aire Libre" (2007, oil on canvas, 48 x 36") is quintessential Sykes with its bold, calligraphic grey-violet leaves in silhouette, against a warmer salmony-yellow background. Like all of Sykes' dreamy, gossamer "botanicals," this is filled with painted veils of color, delicate brush strokes with an emphasis on a glowing surface, which is highly varnished. Sykes, in her statement says "Though draftsmanship is a hallmark of my work, I think of myself as a colorist and take supreme pleasure in the subtle relationships of contrasting pigment."
Michele Stitz, a native of Northern California, embeds hints of foliage - delicately drawn with oil - in layers of resin. Parts of recognizable and occasionally, unrecognizable shapes struggle to the surface of the resin, to be seen or barely comprehended, like a dream half-remembered upon waking.
Stitz's landscapes of the mind evoke the four seasons both literally and figuratively. "Acacia" (2007, oil in resin, 18 x 18") is all rusts and pink like autumn leaves, with a tree drawn with childlike simplicity. This is landscape re-imagined, reinvented as dream reverie. It is paradoxically stark, with a hint of only one tree and yet incredibly rich with its delicate translucent washes of gauzy pinks, siennas and creams. In "Es Muss Sein I and II" (2007, oil in resin, 22 ½ x 48 1/4") which translates from the German as "It must be," the mood changes dramatically. These two resolutely horizontal and densely murky images are reminiscent of Chinese scrolls, and recall a harsher nature, devoid of color. Highly abstracted with just the merest trace of a branch lying on the "ground," these two elegant and brooding paintings are among the most powerful. In the "Forest Series," Stitz groups fourteen resin-with-encaustic paintings of various sizes (the smallest measure a scant 4 X 9" and the largest measures 21 X 28") to create a virtual wintry forest, denuded of leaves, and filled with mist. This is the most cinematic piece, suggesting different views of the same forest, ranging from close-ups to long shots. Bleak and mysterious, this grouping is an image in search of a narrative (though it does remind of that episode of The Sorpranos when Christopher and Paulie are stumbling around lost in the New Jersey forest).
In the last series, all 10 X 10" square, Stitz conjures up the rejuvenating power of spring. These six intimate oil on resin paintings, replete with bird, and flower forms are the most colorful and literal of all the images. It brings us back to that original Garden of Eden, when all is right with the world. The welded, metal frames that hem in the images only reinforce the idea of them as figments of the imagination. Stitz's ephemeral landscapes evoke memory and time passing as each translucent layer of resin both reveals and conceals what has gone before. Less a rumination on nature or on the transience of beauty, these delicate works are a metaphor for growth, change and the inevitability of change. Both Jill Sykes and Michelle Stitz have unique and strangely similar approaches to nature. Both combine the concrete and the ephemeral, evoking a state of mind as much as a particular place. Nature is the catalyst for their elegant, moody and distinctly original works which reward repeated viewings. As Albert Einstein, arguably the most famous physicist has said "Joy in looking and comprehending is nature's most beautiful gift."
Nancy Kay Turner
Flavorpill's Back-to-School Gallery-Opening Guide
School's back in session, but there's something far more frenzied than the first day of freshman year afoot. In the next two weeks, things kick into overdrive as just about every gallery in town breaks out the bubbly in celebration of a new exhibition. But no worries: we've filtered out the fluff, winnowing down the massive list of worthy art openings to our 35 favorites. So breathe, baby, then get on out there: after all, that amazing art ain't gonna appreciate itself.
Group Show @ Milo Gallery Opening: Sat 9.8
The Milo Gallery celebrates its first anniversary with a show of new work by a diverse group whose takes on nature, pop culture, storytelling, and mystery helped make this new kid on the block a local favorite right from the start.
Continuing and Recommended Exhibitions
Brian Mallman's "Drawings" are simply and plainly comprised of graphite markings on mostly unvarnished wood panels. Just a few contour lines, a shaded surface, some scumbled patches; however direct his medium, he uses the relative neutrality of this approach to optimal results in his interpretations of "business" men. These "suits" interact in groups and are mainly sitting in portraiture pose. Although the attire depicted immediately situates these portraits in professional and political situations, the figures themselves are distorted in comical ways. Bodies are pushed together into flattened biomorphic blobs, multiple eyes are at once wistful and menacing, smiles congeal into frozen grotesque masks: something is amiss here. Mallman draws your attention on their postures, gestures and expressions to reveal how power transforms the user from within. Rather than point his finger from a distance at the obviousness of power plays and corruption, Mallman finds a strain of piety which retains a tone of optimism even as he warns of the dangers of hubris (Milo Gallery, West Hollywood).
Brian Mallman, "Meetings 3,"
2007, graphite on board, 4' x 4'.
The Time Is Always Now
Sat Nov 17 - Sat Dec 15 (Tue-Sat: 11am-5pm)
Don't call Joan Tucker another Rothko wannabe. While her exploratory, painterly abstractions are obviously influenced by the forefathers of abstract expressionism, this Detroit-born, LA-based painter's work is all her own. Beneath the slashes and blocks of textural paint lie Tucker's clear, individual ideas. A testament to the subconscious flow of the creative process, the paintings transform everyday inspirations into absorbing, chaotic compositions.
– Ashley Tibbits
"Under Certain Conditions"