Claire Milner Art
INVESTIGATE . TRANSLATE . CREATE
Claire Milner works in collections which collate art, science, nature and simultaneously represent her own identity and values. Environmental references such as climate change and mass extinction have been the central focus of her image making for more than two decades. Her works concurrently highlight the human connection to the natural world and also our impact and encroachment upon critical ecosystems and species. In a coalescence she describes as “Investigate . Translate . Create” she uses imagery from extensive research documenting the latest environmental news (investigate), combined with art historical tropes and themes from classical literature and mythology (translate), interwoven to form a blend of topical and historical narratives in the final painting (create). Existing at the intersection of abstraction and figuration, Milner’s latest paintings explore ideas surrounding the revealed, the hidden and the disappeared. Her portrayal of animals’ interchanges between the metaphoric and the literal and continues a wide-ranging history of animal images in art. The impact of humanity is always implicit within her artworks, even when the human figure is absent or plays a minor role in the composition. She has taken extensive research trips to Africa, South America, Asia and Australia for commissioned and personal bodies of work, and these travels continue to inform her current collections. Inspired by her love of Africa, her paintings accentuate the uneasy juxtaposition of abundance and loss and contrast commercial values with environmental ideals as determinants of worth. Signifying both chaos and order in densely layered compositions, her paintings elicit an initial emotional connection, with many levels of meanings and discoveries to be made on closer inspection and subsequent viewings. Art does not exist in a vacuum and Milner believes that now more than ever an artist’s role is to hold a mirror up to the issues of our time. The main focus of her content is universal: life and death. “Climate change, our impact on the environment, habitat loss and the current rapid rate of extinction are all issues which have devastating implications as the biggest challenges we face. Without the resolution of these overarching issues, we will not have the luxury to concern ourselves with others.”
MEDIUMS AND TECHNIQUES
Milner has an eclectic personal collection of photographs documenting her extensive travels which are continuously sampled and remixed. They form the basis for digital artworks which reference her degree and background in graphic design and typography. These reconstructed digital collages, created with complex, semi-transparent layers, in turn form the starting point for the compositional ideas in the breadth of her practice. This spans traditional studio paintings, mixed media works, crystal methodologies and handmade paper collages referencing illustration commissions. Milner’s artworks mix contemporary painting and cutting-edge digital techniques with older pictorial traditions. Paint skins with printed text and photographic imagery are camouflaged into some paintings, as are text, handmade paper features and contemporary crystal mosaic details which implement historical pointillist techniques. The modus operandi of the crystal works originally evolved from the ancient art of mosaic, famous for animal depictions and used by Milner as a signifier of her familial ties to Italy. This positioning of mediums, vocabularies and genres combines digital, classical and handmade, in a fusion of high art, popular culture and topical themes.
Claire Milner is a British artist based in North Yorkshire. She studied her Foundation in Art and Design at Harrogate School of Art, and went on to Coventry Polytechnic, U.K. from which she graduated in Graphic Design and Typography. Before devoting her career to fine art, she worked as an illustrator in London, where she was commissioned by many large corporations and publishing companies. She illustrated portraits of British Chancellors Gordon Brown and Nigel Lawson for major publications, leading to further portrait commissions of politicians, Central European Bankers and company CEOs such as Sir Terry Leahy, Sir Martin Sorrell and Lord Browne. An African trip inspired the painting ‘Mother and Child’, a mixed media work which was exhibited in Cambridge and acquired by CamFed, an organization which helps fight poverty in Africa by educating and empowering girls, and who subsequently commissioned five similar artworks to form a series. In the early nineties Milner studied under the eminent international mosaic artist Elaine M Goodwin, founder of Tessellated Expression for the 21st Century (TE-21). This was to welcome a new departure for her work, whilst at the same time representing an organic evolution of her early paper collage illustrations.
COLLECTIONS, EXHIBITIONS AND MEDIA
Claire Milner's artworks are held in a number of private collections, including Blue Marilyn in the collection of Rihanna. The portrait has been widely featured by the global media, it has appeared on The Official Website of The Estate of Marilyn Monroe, and has been showcased by Swarovski. It was included in a special edition of Vogue Paris which was guest edited by Rihanna who featured the work in a profile of her favourite things. Milner's portrait of Amy Winehouse appeared in an exhibition curated by the Amy Winehouse Foundation to mark what would have been the late singer's 30th birthday. The artist’s semi abstract artwork representing under sea volcanoes and life in the ocean depths entitled Hydrothermal Vents is in the collection of Professor Iain Stewart, BBC Broadcaster and head of Department of Earth Sciences at Plymouth University. Milner's work has been displayed in museum exhibitions in the UK including: Ripon Cathedral, York Minster, Corinium Museum, Canal Museum, Pontefract Museum, Museum in the Park, as well as installations in Harrods and Whiteley's. Her paintings have been widely featured in the global media (see press page) including the BBC, BLOUIN ARTINFO, Channel News Asia, Elle, Forbes, Huffington Post Arts, The Observer, Save Virunga, The Telegraph, The Times, Vogue Paris and Vogue India. Most recent features include: An in-depth article entitled ‘Artist Claire Milner Addresses Climate Change, Mass Extinction and Pollution’ in Musings Magazine which interviews thought-leaders and artists in the philanthropic and social impact space, published by Susan Rockefeller and a feature in The Observer alongside pioneering artist Judy Chicago’s Create Art for Earth campaign.
CONSERVATION, PARTNERS AND AWARDS
Milner’s work has raised substantial funds for conservation and environmental organisations and won awards for raising awareness of threats facing keystone species. Her paintings have been described as "metaphors of our time" in examining the effects of humans on each other and on other species and ecosystems. In December 2017, Milner's painting entitled Ocean Rainforest (Anthropocene Extinction Collection) featuring coral reefs and sea turtles won the Oceanic Global x Alpha'a Artivism Challenge, following which it was exhibited during Art Basel Miami. The competition utilised the visual arts to raise awareness about six critical issues impacting our ocean. The judges included Susan Rockefeller, Dustin Yellin, Aaron Levi Garvey, Doumi Busturia, Alexandre Arrechea and Zaria Forman. Milner's painting entitled Symbiosis (Anthropocene Extinction Collection), a companion piece to Ocean Rainforest went on to be a 2018 1ST ARTSLANT Prize Showcase Winner. In November 2017 the artist's mixed media painting entitled The Unknown (Holocene Twilight Collection) commissioned by actress and animal activist Virginia McKenna was auctioned in aid of the Born Free Foundation and sold to actress and activist Joanna Lumley. In 2016 Milner's crystal mosaic portrait of an elephant-poaching victim Delicate And Mighty (True Value Collection) was sold to a collector in New York in aid of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Nairobi. In 2015 Burning Bright (True Value Collection) created with 32,000 Swarovski crystals representing ten times the number of tigers left in the wild, was exhibited at an exhibition in London’s Hotel Café Royal, curated by Christian Furr. It was subsequently auctioned at The Savoy Hotel and sold to an art collector in Germany in aid of Save Wild Tigers, The Born Free Foundation and The Environmental Investigation Agency.
Claire Milner is an artist member of the Gallery Climate Coalition, developing the tools, strategies, and research required to help make a positive change in relation to the carbon footprint of the art industry.
2021 COLLABORATIONS, EXHIBITIONS AND FEATURES
Milner has begun collaborating with Virginia Damtsa, an Art Dealer, Art Gallerist and Artist Agent who has wide ranging experience in the visual arts spanning two decades.
Invited to show work with Rise Art, a curated online platform which “champions the work of outstanding emerging and mid-career artists worldwide.”
Selected as an artist member of the non-profit arts organisation ArtCan.
Works from the Anima Mundi collection included in an online Group Show in Shrine Gallery, New York.
Works from Anima Mundi collection selected for a global virtual exhibition hosted by Create! Magazine curated by Gita Joshi.
Logging the Leuser (Anima Mundi Collection) chosen as a Friday Feature by David Shepherd Wildlife Art, home of Wildlife Artist of the Year.
Logging the Leuser (Anima Mundi Collection) chosen in a curated collection for Earth Day 2021.
Paradise Lost (Anima Mundi Collection) selected for a curated collection by Saatchi Art Chief Curator Rebecca Wilson in June 2021.
Multiple paintings from the Anthropocene Twilight collection selected for three curated collections and a fourth ‘Best of April’ collection on Saatchi Art by Rebecca Wilson, Chief Curator and VP Art Advisory.
Everything is Connected (Anima Mundi Collection) chosen as Painting of the Day by Contemporary British Painting - an artist led organisation which explores and promotes current trends in British painting.
Interviews and features include: The Curator’s Salon, Create! Magazine and The FLUX Review.
Milner has been selected to take part in Explorers Against Extinction Invitational Exhibition at the Oxo Gallery, London in November 2021. The primary aims are to raise awareness about the threats facing the world’s most iconic species and their habitats while also raising significant funds for nominated projects pivotal in the battle to protect them.
Work from the Anima Mundi collection has been selected for ArtCan and La Condamine: Notre Temps | Our Time Virtual Exhibition in September 2021
Work from the Anima Mundi collection has been selected for The Curator’s Salon: Coming of Age Virtual Exhibition in November 2021