Todd McMillan has exhibited since 2002 in Australia and the UK, including solo exhibitions at Penrith Regional Gallery (2022), Gertrude Contemporary (2021) (both collaborative with Sarah Mosca), and ten year survey exhibitions at the Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart (2013) and Wagga Wagga Art Gallery (2013). He has been included in group exhibitions at the Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney (2015); Primavera at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia (2012); the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne (2013); Kaldor Public Art Projects and Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane (2010) and Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces, Melbourne (2007).
McMillan has been a finalist in the National Works on Paper Prize, Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery (2020), National Photography Prize, MAMA Albury (2017) and the Blake Prize (2011). He was awarded both the Churchie Emerging Art Exhibition Works on Paper, Photography prize and the new technologies prize (2008), the Helen Lempriere Travelling Art Scholarship (2006) and has received Australia Council for the Arts Funding in 2012, 2011 and 2008. McMillan’s work is held in numerous private collections in Australia, including the John Kaldor Collection, National Gallery of Victoria, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Artbank and the Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart.
BRIDGE OF SIGHS
6 TO 23 JULY 2022
The new paintings feature seascapes, mountains and hazy glimpses of sky, but as McMillan says, “I'm not trying to capture the essence of the sea or trying to correctly or successfully render a mountain. They’re more from a description read than something seen.”
He sees these new works as “a collection of short stories” that are “not pointing to the journey ‘across the bridge’ but rather attempting to describe it over and over again”.
Two of these paintings return to the motif of the albatross. The shapes are blurred. “I spent weeks getting rid of them, putting them back in…to a point where they're just there,” he says. “In literature, the albatross is meant to represent the human soul and yet, it’s on the precipice of extinction. Whether the soul exists or not doesn't matter to me. It’s that the albatross might go, and there'll be the word left that pointed to the bird, that pointed to the thing that possibly meant the most essential part of us. It’s that sense of vertigo.”
Another painting could be the moon, or it could be the sun burning through cloud cover. For McMillan, the ambivalence of these works is about creating “a moment of pause, or reprieve, between two states,” he says. This idea of reprieve is core to his practice.
Extract from feature by Jane O’Sullivan for current July/August issue of Art Guide Australia
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CRAFT VICTORIA
SATURDAY 9 JUNE