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Wardell Milan

June 25 — July 09

Throughout his practice, Wardell Milan (b. 1977, Knoxville, Tennessee) sustains a thoughtful inquiry into the nature of beauty and the unconscious, touching on topics such as body modification and gender performance. From a recent group of significant works on paper, two approximately six- by eight-foot drawings (both 2018) present dynamic groups of enigmatic individuals cast within idyllic scenery, which the artist animates with an architectural swirl of geometric patterning. In making these works, Milan also takes a journey through the history of photography – invoking Henri Cartier-Bresson, Nobuyoshi Araki, Robert Mapplethorpe, and others – seeking out compositional ideas and physiognomic cues in an array of iconic imagery. Works by the artist may be found in the collections of The Art Institute of Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; Denver Art Museum; Brooklyn Museum, New York; Hessel Museum of Art, Bard College, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Morgan Library & Museum, New York; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; UBS Art Collection; Daniel & Florence Guerlain Contemporary Art Foundation, Paris; Hall Art Foundation; and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Milan lives and works in New York.

Project Description

Wardell’s work pivots between the illusionary possibilities of photography and the mutability of drawing and collage. During his BOFFO Residency, Wardell continued to develop two separate but related bodies of work. Through the medium of photography, he created work centered around examining the idea of nature’s supremacy over man. The second body of work – drawing/collage; focused on the sense of liberation one may discover when engaged in acts of deviant behavior. He also focused on a new third body of work, sculpture, moving from two-dimensions to three-dimensions with people on Fire Island as the center of exploration.

Photo Credit: Tiffany Smith and