The Capitol Hill Arts Workshop (CHAW) welcomes Mills Brown for its November Inside the Artist’s Studio, a monthly virtual residency series. Mills is a visual artist working primarily with painting and collage. From Monday, November 16th through Friday, November 20th, Mills will take over CHAW’s instagram @CHAWinDC to bring us into her studio. This virtual experience will offer insight into her influences, processes, and materials. For more information, please visit www.chaw.org.
In her studio, Mills uses matte vinyl paints, translucent acrylic washes, and collaged photos and paper to reinvent scenes from the different places she’s called home. Many works reference bright rooms, nostalgic furniture, and ghostly figures from her childhood in South Carolina. Mills loves searching for decorations on bed linens, rugs, and wallpapers in old family photos and bringing them back to life on the canvas. While she seeks to capture a certain warmth and intimacy in these spaces, Mills also brings a critical eye to the myths of her childhood. As she creates order in each composition, she considers how she might re-order the personal histories within. “I rebuild these rooms as a way to reclaim them, holding them up into the light to ask which fragments of memory will continue to exist in my current narrative, and which stories have holes through the passing and revelation of time,” says Mills.
“I was first struck by the gorgeous surface of Mills’ work. She uses a vibrant palette and complex patterns to create her paintings. This is a hook to draw the viewer into Mills’ rich and moving personal world. We are invited into her grandmother’s home or her childhood bedroom, and allowed to savor the tactile as well as emotional experiences of her world,” says Ellen Cornett, CHAW’s Gallery Manager.
Ellen continues, “The goal of the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop Inside the Artist’s Studio Residency is to show how working artists create—giving visitors, students, staff, and faculty insight and inspiration into process.”
Mills Brown graduated with an MFA from American University in 2017, and a BA in English and Art History from Wofford College in 2015. Her works show an interest in pattern and ornamentation, along with themes of memory, domestic space, family relationships, and home. She’s influenced by Southern Gothic literature, insofar as the genre explores the pressures of the past upon the present. In DC Mills has exhibited solo shows at Capitol Hill Arts Workshop, Latela Curatorial, and IA&A at Hillyer. She currently lives and works in Takoma Park, MD.