BORCH Gallery & Editions
In ‘The Balcony’, Wardell Milan explores the absurdity of politics, social and political structures, power dynamics and spectatorship and how these forces affect one’s personal existence. The portfolio’s title is an allusion to the relationship between performer and spectator in a theatre setting. Milan imagines the viewers observing the action ‘as if they are sitting above in a balcony watching the melodrama unfold before them.’ In his work the human bodies themselves become stages on which questions of gender, race, sexuality and power are being negotiated.
Milan spent the first days in the studio working on preliminary drawings, using images from newspapers or magazines as references for the compositions he would later execute on copper plates. He then transferred these drawings into line etchings while simultaneously experimenting with other intaglio printing techniques which he then incorporated into his etchings. The result is a suite of prints executed in a range of grey tones, pattern and line work, employing time-honoured printmaking techniques to create decidedly contemporary, politically charged visual narratives.
Wardell Milan, I am not crazy life is, 2019 (detail)
The images are composed of a range of grey tones, pattern and line work. I chose not to use color in order to eliminate distraction and to focus the audience’s attention on the narratives being witnessed.
Wardell Milan working at BORCH Editions' studio
Printing plates for Wardell Milan's 'The Balcony' series in different stages
Wardell Milan, The Priest. The Shooter. The Flag, 2019 (detail)
Wardell Milan investigates topics like gender performance, identity and body modification as well as social and political structures. His artistic practice includes large-scale figurative drawing, painting, photography and collage. He uses material from a wide variety of sources such as magazines, illustrated books, historical artworks or family snapshots.
Wardell Milan, born 1977 in Knoxville, Tennessee, lives and works in New York City. He has been collaborating with BORCH Gallery & Editions since 2019.