A Place to Hide: An art exhibition that celebrates the profound connection between humanity and the solace found in the embrace of nature.
Mills Brown invites you to embark on a visual journey that explores themes of refuge, rediscovery, and the preservation of precious memories.
Within this collection of paintings, viewers will encounter a rich tapestry of dreamlike and nostalgic moments. A young girl proudly presents a glittering snakeskin discovered amidst the overgrowth, embodying the thrill of nature's hidden treasures. A woman burrows into the earth, seeking solace and safety in her surroundings. Light dances gracefully with water, unveiling a secret swimming spot, a haven concealed by nature's verdant cloak. Ornamental patterns provide a vessel for these moments to exist within, guiding viewers into a world where reality and dreams converge.
Central to these artworks are the feminine figures that gracefully inhabit their landscapes. These women find a sense of wholeness in their natural surroundings, and in doing so, they uncover fragments of themselves that may have been lost or forgotten.
As autumn arrives, bringing shorter days and cooler temperatures, Mills Brown reflects on the light-filled days of summer as precious reserves. These cherished memories of wild swimming, collecting stones, and late nights in the garden become the emotional sustenance needed to endure the darker half of the year. "A Place to Hide" beautifully illustrates the gathering of these warm moments, portraying them as a preparation for the profound retreat of winter.
The heart of Mills Brown's studio practice is deeply rooted in her childhood experiences in the American South. It was during this formative time that she discovered a profound connection to the land, sparking a lifelong fascination with nature's mysteries. The artist fondly recalls pretending to be a witch in the woods, where strands of Spanish moss transformed into wild, curly hair. A simple river became an enchanted pool of sweet tea for leisurely swims. A cavern created by a fallen oak offered refuge, evoking a sense of protection and solitude akin to a hermit crab within its shell. Family stories and tall tales painted a vivid backdrop of mystery, with childhood fantasies merging seamlessly with the family's rich history, creating an enduring archive of enchantment.
Today, Mills Brown's paintings serve as a mesmerizing echo of her childhood, a portal back to a time when magic and reality intertwined seamlessly. "A Place to Hide" is an invitation to revisit that magical place and rediscover the enchantment that resides within our connection to the natural world.
A Place to Hide will be on display in the #WindowGalleries along Friars Entry in Oxford, OX1 2BZ from 15th September until the 2nd October, free and available to visit at any time. The #WindowGalleries are an innovative collaboration between community organisation Fusion Arts and The Randolph Hotel by Graduate Hotels that connects and supports Oxford’s communities by creating a lively space for the public to experience inspiring work by local artists.