Throughout his practice, Wardell Milan (b. 1977, Knoxville, Tennessee) sustains a thoughtful inquiry into the nature of beauty and the unconscious, touching on topics such as body modification and gender performance.
From a recent group of significant works on paper, two approximately six- by eight-foot drawings (both 2018) present dynamic groups of enigmatic individuals cast within idyllic scenery, which the artist animates with an architectural swirl of geometric patterning. In making these works, Milan also takes a journey through the history of photography – invoking Henri Cartier-Bresson, Nobuyoshi Araki, Robert Mapplethorpe, and others – seeking out compositional ideas and physiognomic cues in an array of iconic imagery.
Works by the artist may be found in the collections of The Art Institute of Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; Denver Art Museum; Brooklyn Museum, New York; Hessel Museum of Art, Bard College, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Morgan Library & Museum, New York; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; UBS Art Collection; Daniel & Florence Guerlain Contemporary Art Foundation, Paris; Hall Art Foundation; and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Milan lives and works in New York.