“Maritime” is John Millei’s epic nine-year nautical series of heroism converted to gesture. Ranging from abstract expressionist to, at least for Millei, realism, “Maritime” churns from thick-stroked wave undulations, to port- and dockside monoliths, to massive sails and masts. “Queen Anne’s Revenge” spans no less than 12 feet high by 30 feet wide--three floating mast & sail combos with frenetic, rope-like circuitry pulsing madly within. It’s the scale of work that few spaces short of museums have the heft to host. The remaining plethora of work spans the size spectrum, from very large down to one and two footers, which become studies by proxy. The palette of blacks, whites and greys, with the occasional metallic silvers, is rich enough to make you forget primary colors exist. The inspiration may be the danger, mystery and limitlessness of the sea, but the paintings themselves are a playground of paint pushed around in every imaginable fashion with, OK, a romantic undercurrent of brooding.
Published courtesy of ArtScene ©2010