SILENT MONUMENTS (Joint Show)
HOUSE and BLUE.
Terry Grimley, Birmingham Post. Showing the stuff of dreams. 15 May, 2007
Using contrasting techniques, photographers Maggy Milner and Colin Wilson both produce images that could be described as classical, cool and quiet.
Where Milner’s muted colour photographs are digitally manipulated, Wilson’s are produced in the traditional but now rare black and white medium of silver gelatin prints made by hand on a giant scale. Together they make a show called Silent Monuments.
Milner shows two distinct series of work. Blue, in which that colour provides a linking theme between a series of calculatedly staged interiors, is intended as a reflective response to the daily overload of tragic imagery we are subjected to by electronic media.
It’s fair to say that if you weren’t told this you might not work it out from the images themselves, although you might in the case of the striped office where white plastic cups are arranged in an unmissable echo of a military cemetery.
Elsewhere the allusions, ranging from a pair of stacked tables to a row of black bin liners in front fo blinds drawn against bright daylight, are more subtle.
However, I preferred Milner’s other group of images, House. Here she has photographed the bare rooms of an old house between occupants, introducing subtle still life elements including peaches which appear in every setting.
Again, these images make you think of a medium other than photography, but in this case it’s watercolour. These austere environments, with their predominantly pearly-grey tonality, reminded me of the Danish painter of interiors, Wilhem Hammershoi. The slightly unfamiliar domestic style of this house, with it’s matchboarded walls, also adds a Scandinavian flavour.
Some individual images are of quite exceptional beauty and the set as a whole has an accumulative atmosphere.