Artist: Darby Milbrath
Exhibition title: Although the wind…
Venue: Projet Pangée, Montreal, Canada
Date: September 10 – October 31, 2020
Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artists and Projet Pangée, Montreal
Montreal, September 2, 2020 – Projet Pangée is proud to present Darby Milbrath’s upcoming solo exhibition titled:
“Although the wind
blows terribly here,
the moonlight also leaks
between the roof planks
of this ruined house”
Poem by Izumi Shikibu, “Although the wind… ,” translated by Jane Hirshfield and Mariko Aratani, from The Ink Dark Moon.
Last summer I was living on a farm on a small gulf island on the west coast and painting in the hayloft of an old barn. The barn was like a cathedral. Light and wind leaked through the wooden planks and swallows nested in the rafters, circling above me while I worked. The old woman who owned it lived in a house I could see from my window. She lived there alone. The farm had become overgrown, quiet. The bones of her cows were buried in the yard. I dug them up one day. Milking stools were strewn in the yellow fields. She recited the poem to me about the moonlight and the ruined house and I thought about the barn. How the wind howled through. How dying animals would find their way between the crooked planks to die in shelter. The smell of hay and resinous wood. How my sisters and I gathered there. How the vines strangled the sideboards. In those half remembered gardens, wildflowers emerge from psychedelic dreams, ripe fruits present themselves as spiritual offerings. The paintings are memories of sacred places I’ve been to or grown up near, on the island, surrounded by the sea. This is where the magic emanates from and where I long to be, where I imagine I am if I’m not.
Darby Milbrath (b.1985, Victoria, Canada) lives and works in Toronto and is represented by Projet Pangée. Milbrath’s oil paintings are informed by her background as a professional contemporary dancer which lend her work a sense of movement and theatricality. The dreamlike subjects in her paintings inhabit an imaginary world and evoke a feeling of nostalgia and magic. Milbrath’s memories of her imaginative childhood with her sisters, the landscape of the West Coast Gulf Islands whereon she was raised, as well as her mysticism that began as a young girl there, are recurring motifs in her paintings. Milbrath’s paintings, like a diary, are intimate reflections of her life. The figures in her paintings often express sensuality, longingness, melancholy and reclusiveness. Through the strong use of light, the floating, dreamlike elements, imagined landscapes, and spiritual offerings of fruit and flowers, the artist explores the realm of magic and fantasy. Milbrath has exhibited her work in solo and group exhibitions nationally and internationally. Select exhibitions include, The Flowering Songs at Projet Pangée (Montreal, A place in the Country at Clint Roenisch Gallery (Toronto), Blue Hyacinth at Erin Stump Projects (Toronto), and Domestic Tranquility at 0-0 LA (Los Angeles).