Award-winning Papamoa based artist Alex Miln has been shortlisted as a finalist in the prestigious The Miles Art Awards 2022 for his piece, ‘Bel Air’, a metaphor for the ‘American Dream’.
This biennial event and exhibition at Tauranga Art Gallery is an opportunity for artists in the Bay of Plenty to submit their most accomplished artworks for this premier art award.
Alex is renowned for his complex and provocative 3D sculptural art pieces, many of which take over 1,000 hours to complete, and all of which combine a clever play on form, function and medium with a dash of satire, ensuring they capture one’s attention while being truly unique. Each art piece that Alex creates is made from plywood and aluminium, which he then paints using up to 13 layers of paint to create the illusion of an aged patina.
Alex explains, “Americana popular culture (and the prevailing myths that come with it) have leaked into New Zealand. We are told about the many benefits, but are we being told the full story? ‘Bel Air’ is an investigation into the myth and is an uncovering of substance and evidence – a hunt for the full story. Oftentimes an inconvenient truth that we want to ignore. I want to shine a light where others prefer shade.”
Topics that feature heavily in all of Alex’s works, which he classifies as ‘Signtology’ include politics, religion, and his take on Americana. From mocking Donald Trump’s shady dealings with Russia and his affair with adult actress Stormy Daniels, to the detriments of big corporations and religious zealousness, to the global financial crisis and Covid, nothing’s off limits. Common subjects depicted within his retro-inspired works include American diners and motels (all with exotic names in the unlikeliest places), automobile references (in their faded, rusty glory) and churches (the most conservative of domains).
Alex doesn’t mind ruffling a few feathers and it would seem he actively encourages it. Alex said, “Good art should spark a reaction. If the artist is doing his job properly, people will either love it or hate it. If people are neither here nor there, and they’re not talking about it, then the work must be mediocre.”
The award event will be held at Tauranga Art Gallery (108 Willow Street, Tauranga, 3141) on Thursday, 3 February 2022 at 5:30pm. The award winners will be determined by a sole judge with assistance from a Tauranga Art Gallery representative. The finalists’ work will be shown in a curated exhibition (4 February – 15 May 2022), with up to 40 works chosen to form the exhibition.