Night Gallery is pleased to present Through the Veil, a solo exhibition of new paintings by Darby Milbrath. This is the artist’s first exhibition at the gallery.
Darby Milbrath’s oil paintings are informed by the gestures of physical movement and the transcendental mysticism of the natural world. The artist’s past experiences in the theater and contemporary dance appear throughout her work, as she apprehends her canvases as pieces of music—or as dances themselves—and utilizes light to bring attention to specific figures and objects. Her childhood spent in the coastal expanses of British Columbia ground her immersive paintings, where past and present meet in an ethereal alternate reality.
Milbrath works from a place of spiritual intuition, allowing for compositions to emerge and morph freely. She considers herself a conduit for the paint, through which divine energy can enter and commune through her paintings. In this body of work, Milbrath plays with drips and stains to establish a sense of rawness, evoking the energetic resonance of her material. Her close attunement to the natural world is also reflected in her palettes: the artist paints with the seasons, and the works in Through the Veil are diffused with the warm hues of late summer.
There is no horizon line in Milbrath’s paintings, as wild landscapes dwarf the feminine figures within them. In many ways, the series is a testament to the healing properties of nature and the metaphysical capacities of plants: flowers glow and float about Milbrath’s whimsical paintings, acting as guides for searching figures. In Other Worlds to Sing In, a figure surfaces on the edge of the canvas, overpowered and cocooned by the luminous plant life that surrounds her. Each subject attempts to understand their own interiority by venturing into the sublime, and finds their dreamscapes to be places of healing, refuge, and enlightenment. Indeed, Through the Veil reveals the chasm between the earthly plane and other realms to be narrower than we may think.
Darby Milbrath (b. 1985, Victoria, British Columbia) has had recent solo exhibitions at the Armory Show with Projet Pangée, Montréal; PM/AM, London; and Erin Stump Projects, Toronto. In 2021, she completed a residency at PM/AM, and will be an artist in residence at Casa Balandra, Mallorca, in the fall of 2021. In 2022, she will present a solo exhibition at Projet Pangée and will be featured in a group exhibition curated by Zoe Fisher at Moskowitz Bayse as part of Frieze Los Angeles. She lives and works in Toronto.