Sydney-based Clare Milledge employs the use of the popular nineteenth century folk art tradition of Hinterglasmalerei. This technique involves the artist painting onto the reverse side of a pane of glass so that the viewer experiences the image through the glass, while the paint applied is viewed in the reverse order of its application. This method allows the artist to rework paintings, by either scraping back or adding layers of paint. Milledge is also interested in ecology and the environment and her practice reflects this concern. She explains in her own words, ‘I think that my work should be biodegradable. That’s why I try and use as many natural fibres as possible – hessian, cotton and silk, even glass that is synthetic in preference to perspex’. As Milledge does not like waste, recycling is not only important to her personally, but also artistically as she will reuse materials often. This process gives Milledge greater insight into the power of the natural realm. Along with the mystical and intriguing signs and symbols she renders on her paintings, certain materials also have important associations. Through the repeated and recycled use of items, Milledge endows materials with a deeper symbolism and ultimately magical or therapeutic powers.
Clare Milledge’s work is on display at the Anne & Gordon Samstag Museum of Art during Magic Object.