Article for Open College of the Arts Newsletter.
Dee Bean, Events Officer.
Nottingham based photographer and OCA tutor Maggy Milner originally trained and worked as a nurse. At the age of 45 she changed direction and did a degree in Photostudies at the University of Derby
Since graduating in 1990 Maggie has worked as a lecturer and commercial photographer as well as currently undertaking an MA in Art, Design Theory and Practice at the University of Derby. Through all this she continues to build her reputation as an a artist.
Talking about her work Maggy says, “As a photographer working within a contemporary art context, I have exhibited both nationally and internationally. I am fascinated by photography’s confusing relationship with ‘reality’ and truth and my work explores the interface between photographic “reality” and the artifice of staged installation/still life.
“My recent work “Blue”, 2007, is semi abstract, relying on the allegorical associations of colour, objects and light. It is my reaction to the recent conflicts in Iraq. This work is not an angry anti-war protest. It’s more a lament that springs from deep sadness and a sense of helplessness. The objects in the images are chosen to stir the imagination and memories of the viewer. There are clues that suggest death and waste and loss and suffering. Although the colours are vivid, the message is dark, enigmatic, and like poetry, requires the audience to read between the lines.
“I am also intrigued by the possibilities offered by vacant interiors as a backdrop and of the atmospheric qualities of natural light. I am interested in the way ordinary everyday objects become extraordinary and imbued with meaning when photographed in a certain way.
“In 1999 I worked on an arts project in Nottingham with Bosnian and Serbian exiles. House, 2005, comprising twelve digital prints was influenced by their personal stories describing a people in flight, in fear, in hiding.
“The Utopian view of the house defines an aura of safety and privacy. The “house” is a place in which we choose to eat, sleep, dream and determines our territory, both as individuals, and in cultural terms.
“The backdrop of the empty house fitted the themes I wished to portray. This particular house was between occupancies, poised between past and present. As I worked in the house, I became aware of scuffs and stains and traces of a past. The house, though empty, was “lived in”.
“My aim was to place significant domestic objects in the various spaces. As on a film or theatre set, these objects could suggest possible narrative or scenarios. I wished to create a tension; a sense of a moment poised between past and future: A room left suddenly, a game disturbed, a spoon dropped on bare boards, a book laid down.......there is a powerful stillness. There is a sense of loneliness, silence, suspense. The room with the water bowl and soap denotes confinement. The radio ariel extended upwards reminds the viewer of the exterior world. The rooms with the night lights evoke a vigil or lament or hope. In each interior the viewer will discover peaches, sometimes obvious, sometimes less so. Their perverse fleshy presence (implying the present) provides a paradox, an irony in these worn, linear spaces. “
Blue, will be shown as a solo exhibition of an installation of back lit digital images and video loop at Pickford's House, Derby Museum and Art Galley from 20 September to 2 November 2008. For further information see www.maggymilner.com