Full disclosure: I went to an art gallery one day, one thing led to another and here we are.
I don’t know much about art, but I like words. When collected in a contained space, regardless of intended cohesion, sometimes these words take on a life of their own. Regardless of proper punctuation or standardized syntax, sometimes these words manifest into atmospheres of linguistic articulation made visual. Sometimes… the message is nothing more than the mood conveyed, and the connection between messengers new and old. This… could be one of said times. #kanyeshrug
#SWIPERGETTOTHEPOINTALREADY #IMTRYINGTOBUILDASCENE #LETMEFINISHTHEPATH
Fair warning (because, yes, even more pretense): sometimes i read. people who sometimes read sometimes get wordy, this is undoubtedly one of those times. #THEREWILLBEWORDS these words, again, may not make sense #IDONTWRITEREVIEWS #IWAXRETROSPECTIVEANDWANEDIALECTIC
Rainbow Body is the fourth Solo Exhibition by British performance artist Millie Brown. An evolution of Brown’s original and most recognized performance work, Rainbow Body presents a survey of the artist’s new home in Los Angeles. Developed from Brown’s non-traditional, performance-based methods of painting from the inside-out, Rainbow Body features a post-contemporary study on abstract expressionism within a California palette.
Using almond milk, food coloring, stomach and hands, Brown creates aesthetically whimsical paintings with a deep underlining of raw human emotion. Each piece tells the story of the Los Angeles sky, its past and its present, its light and its dark.
Viewing the body as a vessel for spiritual practice, Brown pushes physical and mental boundaries to reach a state of enlightenment from which creative expression and healing derives. Rooted in Tibetan Buddhist theology, Rainbow Body is the phenomenon of viewing spiritual transcendence from a third person perspective. Rainbow Body is based on three wisdoms, representing the three categories of paintings: ground, presence, and energy.
For those of you who don’t read, a touch of how it felt in my head on first blinkk (BECAUSE YOU’RE IMPATIENT, YOU GET THE STANDARD PHOTO QUALITY EDITION *standard photo quality not representative of vivid quality of featured artwork):
And now, for those who do read, a miscellany with the curator:
Natology: so rainbow body, reaching spiritual transcendence, is based on three principals: ground, presence, and energy.
sxb: and was that you, did millie come in and …
Natology: Millie said ‘Rainbow Body’ and she said what it was, and i researched it. and then i just know, you know,
spiritual evolution doesn’t just happen by being like: ‘alright we’re on the ground floor, on presence,’ and then it’s like, ‘rad, i just passed this layer,’ like it’s this level – it’s not that easy.
you are on your ground, and then you have a moment of enlightenment, and then you reach presence right. but then – you fxxkin fall right back down, and you’re back on the ground!
so, that’s the way that this show is curated… it shows the natural spiritual transcendence.
so right here you know, it starts off with ground, ground, this is the first piece that was ever made.
this piece, all of this concentration, it’s a representation – i mean, and this is all unintentional right – but it represents all of the palettes and all of the energy that she used up until this point in her career and then it disperses into light. and remember when we were talking about the aura that just happens to be around this and it’s just so crazy.
sxb: it’s so mental, and i feel like it looks different than it did yesterday
Natology: it does! it always does.
sxb: it seems faded until you see the clear point of distinction in which it’s clearly that, and that’s clearly that. and it’s the mood ring effect…
Natology: this all up here has changed too because of the stomach acid, in the photographs that i have it was much brighter but it’s brought out, the light has brought light into the colors. i think that in art history the things that are going to be most recognized in her work are these negative spaces…
… you know post-contemporary culture, what i call post-contemporary culture – which is where i mostly operate – it’s mostly you know, art as an experience, and as a part of all of us, and as a part of the art form of what we do: fashion, lifestyle, and, how all of these things cross over interrelate into what the post-contemporary dialogue is and will be. so where is art going and you see that right now we’re living in the most exciting times ever because it’s a tipping point it’s a change in paradigm it’s a historical movement.
sxb: an interesting triad you have is art, academia, and advertising. those are three worlds that kind of fight for that same space of controlling the mindset – because really, discourse at the end of the day is what defines everything. it’s not what you see, it’s–
Natology: how you say it, how you talk about it, how you perceive it and how you tell the story: how you sell the dream.
… because i think like example for me, one of the things that was limiting about academia was that at the end of the day, and again that goes into any of these fields, is that it ends up being a dialogue amongst a very small group of people, so that you can’t really change anything… that you’re all just going so deep down the rabbit hole that you’re only feeding the ego in that conversation, and aren’t really able to reach a larger audience.
you know, i think that that’s where entertainment really plays in, and how you reach a wider demographic and expand the palette of what is to be the next wave in fashion, art, culture or whatever it is. and again, that all has to do with marketing and advertising… what are the things that work, what are the things that don’t work. there’s a mcdonaldization of culture where everything has been completely watered down and, you know, the mass is just taking what’s fed to them because they’re told that it’s cool – but at the same time you’re having this huge awakening where people who would have never talked about like, a fifth dimension or even just intuition, are talking about it and are like following that intuition and are like being guided to … to what is taking place.
for example: millie brown’s work – HIGHLY controversial, highly powerful
Natology: EXACTLY. that another gallerist would frame a completely different story than the one that i framed or would want… you know, she’s not the first artist who has used DNA, or like has used bodily fluids to create art, and with this greed and two dimensional perspective, you have artists that become pigeonholed into becoming an artist that just makes enema paintings, or an artist that just makes chewed-up bubblegum paintings, or an artist that just makes vomit paintings, and the truth is that just limits the creative expression of an individual.
that’s why i say like, this is the last body of work of this particular period because from here – you know, Rainbow Body is a concept of dissolving into light – from here, millie dissolves into light. that’s what the performance yesterday was about, that’s what the series is about, and that’s what the performance at the abramovich institute in may is about. blinded by the light where she’s bathed in light, and surrounded by nothing but light and just you know nasa’s recording of the sun…
and so i think that, and i never noticed the triangles that you pointed out between art, advertising, and academia – but you know, it’s all in how you paint the picture and being able to see understand and to share that story in a way that is … that … that makes sense and that is palatable and that is still super punk rock you know like … i’m still an anarchist i’ve always been super like … on some other sxxt you know like, and a radical, but there’s a way to do it that you know is like… like yesterday when i saw her do her performance i was like, ‘yo, she’s so punk rock! but so elegant and honest and raw in her creative expression.’
… and you know i think, to be punk rock, and this is something i feel like you learn with age… and you know – something that i’ve learned – through time, it’s just, it’s just the way of seeing the world… you know, to be a radical. radical i mean, really just means really getting down to the roots of something…
and you learn how you can work with the cultural and political climate to get your point across and and do it well and do it the right way and and really be able to stir things up from the root
but you know you don’t have to be a dirty punk to do it … – ‘cos your mind’s a dirty punk
it’s about how you can get your point across, and again: it goes back to to the discourse, the dialogue, the conversation – because what is anything: it’s the meaning that we give it.
sxb: … the materialized mentality
… intermission #LIKEWEALWAYSDOATTHISTIME
So – … I riffed on RAINBOW BODY into a recording device for twenty-five minutes and nineteen seconds: this is the verbatim transcription
(FAIR WARNING: EVEN, MORE, WORDS… EXPONENTIALLY MORE WORDS, VERBOSE LINGUISTIC DELUGES COMING IN WAVES OF INCREASING QUANTITY AND INDEFINITE QUALITY – IF YOU DON’T LIKE SWIPER’S FLOW, YOU ARE BEYOND BEYOND WELCOME TO GO ABOUT YOUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED DAILY HAPPENINGS.)
VINYL MIND FLOW #PROSEWEGO
so, i think, in retrospect, there’s something very salient about the journey of the rainbow body. i mean as much as this has been about millie completely and entirely i think the most … magnetic, and attractive, literally, element of the show and the exhibit and the practice itself is the shared consciousness of it all. i don’t know millie. i only recently met the people with involved with the project, and to be quite honest i was quite unfamiliar with anybody in that room before really – and yet, at the same time, it’s the unspoken bond that was shared between everyone who’s experiencing this transcendence of someone else. and it’s this feeling that you’re drawn to – you’re attracted to the opposite, right. so you’ve got people who may feel that much more human when they’re drawn to millie.
and opposites attract, but likes stay together, so we see this as seeming opposites coming together, and yet you remain there. you remain in this space, this physical space of the gallery as much as this mindset.
once you’ve seen this you cannot unsee the scene. and you can’t you can’t return the purge. and the beauty of it is that for as violent and as aggressive and as unrefined and raw as all of this is… the beauty is that you don’t have to return. and that it’s there, and that whatever it is that you need to release from yourself to get to that next level is there on display
and i think at the core of it is that it is her humanity which is being recorded right now.
this is recording her human condition, this is recording her soul and a condition because your light body your rainbow body is immaterial. and the immaterial is of no worth on a material plane, but it was that immaterial spark – that catalyst, that essence, that eternal body which was controlling this material vessel the entire time.
so it’s that millie’s rainbow body is going through its debutante. it was that rainbow body of millie’s that pulled her away from the academic route in england. and it was that same rainbow body that fueled her journey to the states. whether it be new york or whether it be austin, texas – it was that rainbow body right? that essential eternal something that pushed her there, and it was that same rainbow body that attracted different energies to her, and if we’re looking at the starting point as this collapse and this amalgam of every possible color from the palette becoming black. you look at the genesis you look at the origin point of the exhibit. and this is me just rambling, i mean i don’t have reference points outside of my experience which again is the point of this. it’s just if the origin is the amalgam of all of these colors right, the origin her starting point here in this journey is carrying all of those experiences with her here, all of the energies she interacted with became part of hers. and at that point you know it’s interesting once you get to l.a. the lights are blinding.
and so to go from england to have that rainbow body propel you overseas through the barbecue pit, and again: i don’t know millie – this is just what has appeared to me through the artistry of this legacy that we now are sharing – you know and to have that take you, i guess fast forward all i know is that she went from england to l.a. and she’s en route to new york and so we come to l.a. the amalgam this genesis point that i suppose, where better to transcend?
where better to rid yourself of this form than the city of angels? naturally that’s going be where we become one of them.
we become a stellar body, prismatic and when you’re walking through the gallery there’s almost this sense that you begin in this void, you begin in this black hole – this entity that is the epitome of magnetism and attraction. so dark, and so dense, and apparently void and yet it is truly in that darkness where all the elements meet and converge and it’s that blackness that we share, and the beauty in that blackness. and it’s so natural and yet in this world of convention social constraints, cultural institutions, and the commercialization of all of this, and the agenda of the dominant patriarchy, the puritanical patriarchy, they mar this sense of beautiful blackness and they make it appear as if it is wrong or as if it is bad or unnecessary or unwanted and unneeded – and it’s interesting because it’s that place that we come together in the blindness of it all.
black is no different than white. absence and presence where there is absence there is presence right. it’s the absence of what and the presence of what. and it’s something you feel – we don’t see it, and what you see is black and white, and what we feel is dark and light – and yet it’s all just shades of the same thing.
there is no pure darkness, i don’t believe. i feel there are shades and hues of a light. and so with this again at the genesis. it’s something i found myself focusing on as i was in the gallery, i kept focusing, my eye was caught on that point of emergence: where is the origin? and it wasn’t even the blackness, it was the corner in a very eastern way. the idea that chinese paintings begin in the corner, and they build this entire story out from that small southwestern corner – much like millie’s journey now.
so it’s almost as if she emerged from england, and you learn yourself academically and what you should be. you learn the system. you’re a part of the system. you keep building that framework and you find yourself as a cog – as a cog that’s moving something forward, that’s a juggernaut that you had no control over creating. that you have even less control over directing and so you remove yourself from it, at the expense of that machine itself, because certain cogs are necessary even though they are overlooked – and millie is one of those cogs.
you know, when you walk through here and i went and seeing those pictures remain, almost understanding that these have not been acquired yet, there’s almost a beauty to that. on one hand not all of these paintings have been bought, the idea that someone has seen it, that has the means to acquire it and has not, for whatever reason, on one hand: it’s a downside to think that, you know someone didn’t want it, it’s unwanted for some reason – the marketplace is what you make of it. on the other hand: it is beautiful that there is this something out there, that the universe didn’t feel it was ready to be released yet. it’s even more wonderful. or maybe there’s a forcefield maybe these paintings needed to remain on a wall for someone to see them. maybe that potential will come in later. but the idea that presence, the idea that it has not been acquired yet, even though it is out there on display… do you want it to be bought? do you trust the owner? who are you trusting with your children.
and in a similar vein. coming from england, being the necessary cog that was overlooked by this machine, this machine that is falling apart. i feel like convention… academia… they’re falling apart, the idea that you’re losing your cogs. education is too expensive. that’s why you have starving artists, and they know how to teach your kids better than anyone else because they were the part of this system that fell out. and this machine, this old machine reminds me of the industrial revolution. coming from england, much like millie – and yet she is the cog that was lost in that factory, and that factory is falling apart. because slowly it’s eroded. in her years here, she’s helped build perspectives and begun channeling the energy which she’s come in contact with, which include some of the greatest artists of our modern era. whether you know who gareth pugh is, who ruth hogben is, who nick knight is, or you don’t – you probably know who lady gaga is, or vice versa. and you have an opinion on them all, and they all have an interactive opinion on millie.
and all of that’s being brought to l.a. the cog that fell out. and so you go from that, and you come here to this gallery and she becomes a piece of art. art emerged from academia which is beautiful. much like many of our artists now. very well researched, very worldly, and they learned from the book of nomadic nature, the cosmic dancers – and so she turns that sense of lost academia into future art. like a ruth ginsberg, she’s making these paintings in a way that is unfamiliar to the standing order – and that is very fair. a standing order of masculine puritanical patriarchy american globalized free market deregulated business… you’ve got a young woman who really isn’t bound by any of these constraints, as much as she is in this body, this material body that has deemed her a woman of british origin, and that is really all i know about millie.
and the funny thing is that i try to find more conventional words to define who millie is and yet it doesn’t really matter because the point is that she’s really just millie and all i really know is this artwork and i am still able to talk endlessly about this and again that is the point that i am seeing my self in her, in her journey. from england to l.a. to new york. my journey from england to l.a. to new york. and you’re seeing these things, these themes that i would not have thought about before – except they are shared. and then you begin to realize that it is only shared consciousness. it’s only those shared experiences that truly do matter and so it’s what can you…
what is shared, what is differentiated? how do we have a common ground and how do we have … distinct projections.
it’s that commonality and the element of extraordinary. that which we don’t share, that divinity. it’s not shared in this mid space it’s shared at the source. so, while artists appear individually different, they’re all truly artists and the fact that i see myself in millie, and i don’t want to say that. i don’t want to put myself on that pedestal, but that’s what artists invite you to do, to see yourself in them. and then join them. so again, this journey has become a lot of that.
seeing millie bring her work here is beautiful, because l.a. is where stars are made and here millie has made herself with the help of great beings who have honestly given shape and form and propelled stars who we currently watch traverse across this celluloid life.
los angeles, west hollywood, the design district. all of these beautiful symbols coming together and millie at the core of it all. so, you go from academia of england to this new art of l.a. you’ve made a star of yourself in the city of angels and on their wings you travel this rainbow body, once again propelling, propelling this material vehicle. and you shed that in l.a. and you leave your corpse here and at the private show it looked like clay, it looked like chocolate milk. it looked like all of those points of origin. whether a kid watching your saturday morning cartoons, sipping on your yoohoo, or nesquick, or pure chocolate – cocoa and milk. or whether it’s the clay from which we emerge, the crescent –
that christ consciousness. ingested regurgitated and put on display. glazed stone like an altar descended as the point of ascension for a material body which was left behind, and yet from there, from that rainbow body, we go to the light body in new york – in gotham. where we have a manufactured sun, a represented sun, and it’s almost as if we have this artifice. a projection, a representation in this land of manufacture – which would be new york.
it’s like the moon, it’s lunar. it’s the end of this linear journey. it’s almost as if millie is once again being invited back into the pantheon, invited by marina who is a master of this, of the life experience of this human condition. in gotham where the light projects so proudly because there is no nature on that rock. and millie became a solar body in l.a. where they live in constant close proximity to that solar orb everyday. and millie is bringing that natural light, in a rainbow body, in the ethereal to new york. it’s almost as if she’s at parity with this manufactured nasa projection to become that which has been presented back, and it’s visiting that machine that has fallen, it is visiting the industrialized astronomy of it all. it’s kissing the cosmic, but it’s kissing the cosmic as a peer. it’s kissing the cosmic as … a divine compliment. it’s blessing the ivory tower… from the stellar canopy of your divine residence. and i guess it’s just the purge. i guess it’s just acknowledging your humanity and giving it back to the world that created it, knowing that you are not of this world.
that you came here assuming a position in it, once you recognize the reality in that. the truth and the reality that that is not your end-all-be-all, and recognizing the beauty in the flaws the beauty in the pain… and above that pain is your rainbow body, that you can overcome it all, through what catholics call mysteries, and buddhists would consider the purity, strength and validity of your own mind, to overcome all of the appearances.
so i think in that we all find ourselves. somewhere in that rainbow body. the fact that because it’s a rainbow means it’s shared, it’s something we’re all a part of. it’s going to be years, it’s going to be an eternity, it’s going to be miles before i even begin to fathom the peak of what this all will become – but like ruth ginsberg, this is speaking to a future age and i am merely a present being. and I’m not going to assume i know anything about this. i just know that from england to l.a. to new york from dropped academia to attained artistry to transcended advertising – which is just selling the idea of happiness – y’know… new york is the home of advertising and y’know millie is more than an advertisement. it’s taking art to madison avenue and it’s putting it in front of that billboard, it’s returning the billboard to an altar. it’s making sure that if you’re selling something, right, that your business is based upon the shared consciousness of the christ consciousness over corporate commerce; and not solely the idea of Jesus in the bible, necessarily – it could be that – but just the idea that you, as a temple, you as a canvas, you as the altar upon which you stand. you are that christ, that that is a gateway to divinity.
it’s the thing that i truly love about being a catholic is the idea that you can become that divine. that you are here to prove that this human form can be a vessel. that this human form can be a vehicle to another dimension.
and all of this is to say that i just walked into a gallery one day to look at some paintings, and i got an invite to a show, and i observed. then i became the observed staring in a mirror, finding my way through the morass and the myriad of elements that are contained in this seemingly vulgar… regurgitation. and vulgar might be the best word for it, it’s common. humanity is common, the vomit is common, it’s all common but the fact that we all know what it’s like to be common. it means that we’re no better or less than anyone else. and because we’re all the same, because we’re all one. so millie’s journey becomes the journey of us all, and i hate to be cliché , but that’s when you know something’s true: when the clichés begin to make sense.
and so becoming a cosmopolitan citizen, you know, creating your masterpiece in three epicenters of the world – and this only being the fourth show, it’s like a presidential tenure, and as millie presides over this art world in the midst of a turning point, a tipping point, and as she does so so subtly, so silently, and yet so loudly – the deafening roars of the regurgitation like a mother bird, like a raven, like a valkyrie regurgitating divinity to these equally divine denizens who have yet to know their destiny – it’s fine, because this dissent away from academia, this dissent away from conventional academia the dissent away from modern advertising this dissent away from assumed industrialized art, all of these things are captured in this rainbow body. and it’s this dissent that speaks to the future age, and it’s this dissent from assumed humanity, from assumed vulnerability, from assumed vulgarity that makes this such a beautiful prismatic display of the immortality of a one millie brown – and quite honestly, i don’t know what to say about this to make it academic.
i don’t know what to say about this to make it something greater than what it is. i don’t know if these words have deterred from millie’s vision, i don’t know if they’ve blinded the vice, i don’t know if they’ve blinded the vise. i really don’t, and i am rambling – but i think the beauty in that is that i found this in my own mental vomit. this mind vomit i suppose is another step toward the realization of my own rainbow body. and this is not to put myself on her pedestal, i know nothing of what it’s taken her to get here, but again for all of the things i don’t know the one thing i do know is that we do have a shared journey and, i mean, from this point on i look forward to travelling the rest of this path and hopefully, one day, from that cosmic canopy, we’ll all just sit atop and reminisce on that day when millie took the crown and became rainbow body brown.