Jack Milroy

Doodling with intent
13 April - 12 May 2005

An illustrated catalogue with essays by Philip Hensher and Dame Antonia Byatt is available


Milroy always takes us by surprise with his witty, innovative and technically brilliant cut paper constructions and new digital prints. 'Doodling' for Milroy is both a deliberate, fully self-conscious activity and a playful foray with chance. The game plan, as it were, has the firm foundation of experience drawn from decades of investigation and practice.

The nimble use of a scalpel to cut through ink jet printed paper is matched with an innate sense of composition in three dimensions. References to modern masters abound: Mondrian, Dubuffet, Leger, Picasso are cross-fertilised and subjected to manipulations using computer and new printing technologies, then magically re-presented in a new kind of space. Perspex boxes house the weightless paper constructions, with light filtering between the layers of interwoven forms to set up a play of shadows within and beyond the box.

Milroy has also worked in collaboration with Dame Antonia Byatt on a mystery piece involving words: looking and reading. Then there is a fascinating group of works based on Hans Christian Anderson's Snow Queen, to celebrate the Danish writer's bi-centenary. Dame Antonia is Britain's Ambassadress during the celebrations.

Angel first appeared in Milroy's work two years ago. In a nod towards Baroque and Rococo dome fresco paintings, where clouds and putti and Assumptions are depicted or where mythological scenes unfold, Milroy's angel, partly draped in an aquamarine housecoat, floats alluringly amongst clouds set against a bright blue sky. These images are part of the exhibition, but Angel, printed onto an 18 meter fabric, will also appear on London's skyline when she is given a fly-by behind a low flying aeroplane along the Thames and up to Hyde Park.

Milroy's work is in museum collections in the UK including the Imperial War Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum and other collections including British Airways plc and the Government Art Collection. In the USA, there is work in American Life Insurance, and The University of Wisconsin, Nieman Marcus Dallas, Texas, and Chase Manhattan Bank.