"I will definitely be visiting his page again in the future."
People are weird. Have you ever caught someone who didn’t think they were being watched move their body in an awkward way? Or caught yourself in a moment of absent-mindedness, with a flush of embarrassment, making a stupid face or unintentionally moving your lips along to a conversation in your head? Like when you say a word too many times and it starts to sound crazy or become too aware of your tongue and think “what is this thing inside my mouth?!”, even the most common acts like walking and sitting down start to seem bizarre under extensive analysis. This strangeness is about as human as it gets, but it seems to go without its due investigation. For Alexander Millington though, it’s these simple, absurd human experiences that serve as the basis for an art practice that probes into existential questions with humour and elegance.
The recurring motif throughout much of Alex’s work is that of the naked human figure; some are alone, others in groups, some stand on perceivable surfaces, while others seem to float in a void. These are not the “idealized” bodies seen throughout art history - not a Venus or Adonis can be found among them. Rather, their endomorphic and often rather genderless bodies read as almost toddler-like, despite their adult proportions. This fits when you consider their body language as well. They move with a freedom and disregard for how, say, kneeling works that you generally only ever see in the very young, the very intoxicated or those who trust you very, very much. Naturally, there’s humour there, especially when combined with their nudity. From a socialized perspective, these figures are ridiculous; they might even evoke something akin to schadenfreude in certain viewers who couldn’t fathom sticking their bare bums out in such an uncouth manner. However, beneath that, there’s a relatability, perhaps even envy, that one gets from these figures’ willingness to be their, literally, naked selves. Wouldn’t it be incredible to express pleasure, curiosity, exasperation, impotence, confidence or neurosis, both physically and emotionally, with half the truth these figures do?! That’s the gift that Alex’s art gives the viewer - you finally get to experience that authenticity that civilized society discourages, if only by proxy.
Aside from the catharsis these works provide, they also demonstrate Alex’s technical prowess - and not just as an illustrator. Alex incorporates his experience as a professional fine art framer into his practice, creating gorgeous, custom mattes for many of his works that elevate them beyond a simple framed illustration. Likewise, his artistic sensibilities and conceptual interrogations translate beautifully in all sorts of other mediums: linocut prints, digital illustrations and animations, collage, paintings, installations and the occasional relational art project. The care and dedication that goes into his craft is such that you’ll necessarily consider each piece a very “serious” work, even as the work itself gives serious topics like alienation, dread and the nature of being such a farcical treatment. Take a look through his work and you will inevitably find one or several pieces that make you think “that’s me” and then it’ll all be over - you’ll have to bring that little naked guy home. Follow Alex at @alexander.millington and check out his aptly titled online shop Naked and Confused to find the newest addition to your art collection.