Isolated in her Fisher-Price-filled studio, Elton John tickling the ivories in the background, California-based painter Brandi Milne created the candy-coated work of Everything I Ever Was.
The solo exhibition at Corey Helford Gallery includes Brandi’s pop-surrealist work from the pandemic years. “I’ve been working on this body of work for over three years now. You can imagine how freaking excited I am to share it!” she writes in her blog. “Three years is a long time normally, but with a worldwide pandemic, three years feels like a decade.”
Brandi’s pieces, sparkling under a gelatinous sheen, are stuffed with toys, games, ornaments, and characters from the artist’s childhood in the late 1970s and early ‘80s. She calls the work “a collection of surreal-spun tales laced with the cold hard truth about what it feels like to be fully human—Everything I Ever Was is my wild, bright, blazing human expression. To create these works, I dove deeply into the vivid world that lives within my imagination. I let my subconscious be my guide, as the subconscious is the womb of creation.”
The acrylic paintings follow Brandi’s journey from dark to light, ending with the exhibition’s titular piece: a crystalline landscape populated by pudgy, ice-cream slurping snowmen. The painting is packed with objects that spark joy in Brandi, though hints of darkness still loom in the background. “The belly of these pieces hold my joy, my sorrow, my tenderness, and my grief,” she says. “They hold my fear, my loneliness, as well as my love and my light.”
On view at Corey Helford Gallery through December 3, Brandi’s exuberant exhibition kicks off the holiday season as she draws inspiration from her two favorites—Halloween and Christmas. She says, “I offer these new images to my fellow humans in hopes that they can connect to the pure wonder within themselves.”
“Everything I Ever Was is my wild, bright, blazing human expression.” — Brandi Milne
All photos published with permission of the artist(s); photos: Jessica Louise Imagery.
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