Lisa Milroy was born in 1959 and grew up in Vancouver, British Columbia. She moved to London in 1979 and graduated from Goldsmith’s College in 1982. Milroy has exhibited her work widely, and in 2001 had a survey exhibition at Tate Liverpool. Milroy lives and works in London, and is represented by the Alan Cristea Gallery. She is Head of Graduate Painting at the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL.
Still life is at the heart of Milroy’s paintings. In the 1980s her paintings depicted collections of ordinary objects such as shoes, plates, rocks, stamps, fans, hardware, light bulbs and vinyl records all of which were composed in either a grid or random scatter against an off-white ground. In the early 1990s Milroy’s approach to still life painting shifted which led her to depict objects within settings. Her imagery expanded to include landscape, architecture and people. As the range of imagery grew, her painting style diversified. By continually experimenting with fast and slow applications of paint, Milroy’s painterly innovations have allowed her to achieve within her paintings a wide range of mood and atmospheres.
For her exhibition at the Pharos Centre for Contemporary Art, Milroy presents “Shouting From A Rock”. In the main gallery, a series of large paintings stapled to the walls feature a male/female character that is in fact a thinking feeling still life. The head is a wig stand. Attached to the base is a small hook with a hanger looped through it from which hangs a suit. The hands are hidden in a pair of gloves, and the feet encased in shiny black pumps. These paintings depict this still life character in the grip of an emotional moment, keyed by Milroy’s use of colour. The small gallery displays a cluster of several small still life paintings. In contrast to the paintings of the still life character which take the viewer away from the observed world and into an imagined space of affect, these small still life paintings are more concrete, and stem from what the eye sees rather than what the body feels.