Cheeky political messages, acerbic feminist commentary, and a vaguely Happy Days/Lost in Space vibe are just some of the quirky elements Sydney artist Millie Bartlett incorporates into her collaged compositions.
Originally focused on painting and sketch work in her art practice, Bartlett began experimenting with mixed media collages just over two years ago, when she realised the process of collaging allowed her more freedom to create intuitively. An insightful observer of society’s eccentricities and cultural inconsistencies, she takes her impressions of the world and filters them through a mind conceptually inspired by French-American artist Louise Bourgeois, filmmaker Miranda July, and poets Pablo Neruda and Phillip Larkin.
A recurring theme in Bartlett’s work is the tension she sees between women’s dual position as ‘subject’ and ‘object’ in the media. Women take centre stage and questions surrounding their “progressive” social standing are brought to light. In her own words, “women are either over glamorized or made to look like monsters from the planet Cellulite and No Makeup.” Bartlett appropriates the glamourized women from different eras and lends them a little hyperawareness and a skewed context, using heightened absurdity to highlight how little things have changed for women over time.
Aesthetically striking and thought provoking, these works are funny and feminist, romantic and razor-sharp, polite and political, tender and tumultuous. Contradiction is, as she says, her cup of tea.
Millie Bartlett’s work can be seen as part of The Ambience Store Project #3, until 31 May 2016. For details, visit Ambience Store’s website here.
Follow Millie Bartlett on Instagram here.