studio artist

Clare Milledge

Above: Clare Milledge in her Artspace studio, 2015. Photo: Jessica Maurer

Clare Milledge prompts us to reconsider our relationship to objects, materials, nature and language. Hinterglasmalerei, her idiosyncratic technique, is a process of painting backwards, an approach involving the application of paint on glass. In her hands, it involves the brushing on, then scraping away of paint, repeatedly, until resolution is achieved. A negotiation, even for the most apparently simple paintings.

Milledge invokes elemental potency with pigments and geometry. She uses text to point ambivalently at ideas as well as images to represent them. Familiar themes are the realm of shamanistic ritual, environment and an invented pre-history. Textiles – often intensely-dyed hessian – appear in her paintings for their texture and connotative power, their standing in for nature. Glass has the potential to co-house a sharpening clarity with a darker, murkier content. Decidedly, nothing is clearly given.


Milledge (b. 1977, Sydney) completed her Doctor of Philosophy at Sydney College of the Arts, the University of Sydney in 2012. Part of her candidacy (2008) was spent at the Universität der Künste, Berlin. Milledge did her Honours year (also administered by Sydney College of the Arts) at the Statenskunst Akademi in Oslo and still maintains an active interest in Norwegian contemporary art (recently working with Tori Wrånes on the 19th Biennale of Sydney and at 55 Sydenham Rd, Marrickville - both 2014).

Solo exhibitions include Theoretical Regression: A Warm Sheen Against Received Ideas, The Commercial Gallery, Sydney (2014); Altus Duel: Total Environment, Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne (2014); Anthropocene Circle: Theory Theory, Kalimanrawlins, Melbourne (2013); Motivated Reasoning: Strategic, Tactical, Operational, The Commercial Gallery, Sydney (2013); Maximalist Ritualist (with Carla Cescon) at the Australian Experimental Art Foundation, Adelaide (2012); Cave Art: Retarded Transcendence at Peloton, Sydney (2011); Lord Owl at the Institute of Contemporary Art Newtown, Sydney (2010) and The Last Visible Dog at Grantpirrie, Sydney (2009).

Group exhibitions include Unstable Parts in a Unfriendly Place, Institute of Contemporary Art Newtown (ICAN), Sydney (2014); The Sleeping and the Dead, Sarah Scout, Melbourne (2013); Un-Acclimatised, curated by Catherine Bennetts-Cash at Monash University Art Museum, Melbourne, Ladies and Gentlemen curated by Matthys Gerber at Yuill Crowley, Sydney (both 2012);Bad Angle curated by Clare Lewis, Stills Gallery, Sydney (2011); Neo Goth: Back in Black, curated by Alison Kubler at the University of Queensland Art Museum, Brisbane (2008); Verk/Work, with D.O.R. group (NO), curated by Kristin Vestrin at Forsbacka Bruk Art Project, Forsbacka Steelworks, Dalarnas Län, Sweden (2006).

Milledge has curated several exhibitions including the experimental laboratory, Psychomagic Dead Matters, at 55 Sydenham Rd, Marrickville, Sydney (2014).

She has three times been a finalist in the Helen Lempriere Travelling Art Scholarship (2007, 2008, 2010) and twice was the recipient of the Fauvette Loureiro Memorial Artists Exchange Scholarship (2006, 2008) which enabled her to study in Oslo and Berlin respectively.

Clare Milledge’s work is in the collection of Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne.