De Buck Gallery is thrilled to present this experimental and fresh body of work which reflects a breakthrough moment in Jackie Milad’s practice. These works were created exclusively for De Buck Gallery during Milad’s recent residency at the McColl Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Milad’s newest body of work centers around the form of a sarcophagus, a nod to her personal fascination with ancient Egyptian imagery, as well as a symbol of life and death cycles. Creating within the larger global context of the pandemic, Milad began to contemplate grief and global rituals of mourning. She also began to experiment further with a hand-dye process of creating vibrantly colored canvases, specifically in a textured earthy-green tone. The forms suggest hawks, figures or vessels with each “sarcophagus” containing a rich inner world of texture, collage, and color. Ultimately, these new works explore renewal, history, and the cyclical nature of life by juxtaposing a vivid color palette with references to mortality and the grieving process.
Milad’s new works on paper also reflect her fascination with history and overlapping identities. References to Arabic geometric patterns collide with ancient Egyptian imagery, Coptic symbols in reference to her father’s culture, and her own unique visual language. Woven adeptly into both the canvases and works on paper, Milad depicts scallop shapes and droplet imagery, suggesting universal symbols of tears, sweat, blood, and water, as well as repeated imagery of bricks and deconstructed pyramids.
Milad works in drawing, painting, collage, and textile techniques, creating abstract works on distressed canvas using drawn symbols from her imagination and her Egyptian-Honduran immigrant upbringing. She creates a unique world of her own by blending what appears to be disparate imagery and language from her cultural heritage. Milad intentionally makes the surfaces of her pieces appear chaotic with an accumulation of many fragments. She describes, “By showing the history of my hand through the dense collapse of layers, I tell my own story as a multi-ethnic first generation American. Cannibalizing my earlier artworks to use as collage material or painting over previous marks are acts of defiance. I destroy and reuse previously exhibited works to make room for a regenerative and intuitive process that never ends, and documenting the many iterations along the way. Artworks that were once static and put away into my archive, become repurposed and responsive in real-time to emulate an ever-changing complicated story.”
Jackie Milad is a Baltimore City-based artist whose mixed-media abstract drawings and collages address the layers, history and complexities surrounding multi-ethnic identity. She has participated in numerous group and solo exhibitions nationally and internationally, and her work is in several private collections. Milad is a multi-year recipient of the individual Artist Grant from Maryland State Arts Council, and in 2019 she was named a Janet & Walter Sondheim Prize Finalist and a Robert W. Deutsch Foundation Ruby Grantee.. Milad received her BFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University, and her MFA from Towson University. Besides her active studio practice, Milad also has an extensive career as a curator and educator.
Walk through a virtual installation of her works: