Adia Millett: There is no them. There is only us.

September 11 – November 13, 2021

Traywick Contemporary proudly announces There is no them. There is only us, our second solo exhibition with Adia Millett, featuring her recent paintings and works on paper.

Addressing issues of identity, personal memory and collective history, Millett is concerned with the fragile complexity and interconnectivity among all living things. A creative fluidity informs her larger art practice which includes a diverse range of media including textiles, constructions, and video. Millett’s approach is intuitive and improvisational, with a process-oriented, tactile sensibility. Running through her practice and her varied materials choices is an interrelated narrative about the imaginative, liberating possibilities of abstraction.

The title of the exhibition refers to Millett’s interest in bringing together the multi-layered voices of the past as a means of exposing our overlapping perspectives and intrinsic connections. She embeds imagery which holds meaning — fragments and allusions to structures, land, objects and human forms — as a way to conjure stories and channel a lineage to the creative forces that came before us.

In her new work, these ancestors and “foremothers” take on ethereal forms including shadows, orbs and draped figures which emerge or offer portals into puzzle-like landscapes. The specters of light and shadow have a translucency that powerfully suggests potentiality and transformation for us individually, and as a society. Millett brings together color — bright in some places and intentionally muted in others — as well as subtle, infinite shades of black, with areas of glitter and metallic paint, to communicate light, shifting dynamics and movement as the viewer interacts with the work.

Millett constructs the compositions of her paintings much like her textile-based work, drawing on the powerful storytelling traditions of quilt-making and stained-glass practices. The boldly colored, interconnected shapes of her abstracted worlds also underscore her interest in the interdependency of individuals and the natural environment. Pieced together in this way, patterns and colors bear witness to events over time, as she pays homage to the past with an eye on the journey ahead.

Born in Los Angeles, California, Adia Millett currently lives and works in Oakland. She earned her BFA from the University of California, Berkeley and an MFA from the California Institute of Arts. She is also an alumna of the influential Whitney Museum Independent Study Program and the Artist-in-Residence Program at the Studio Museum, Harlem where her work is included in the permanent collection. She has exhibited at other prominent institutions including the New Museum, New York; P.S. 1, New York; Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco; Oakland Museum, CA; Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; Santa Monica Museum of Art, CA; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Atlanta; The Contemporary Art Center, New Orleans; Barbican Gallery, London; and at the California African American Museum, Los Angeles, which hosted a critically acclaimed solo exhibition of her work in 2019.

Watch the video about this exhibition

Adia Millett: Silver Lining, 2021

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