Music, Magic, and Machines: Exquisite Details Unfurl From Chris Millar’s Phantasmagoric Sculptures
This Is Colossal online magazine
by Kate Mothes
Worlds within worlds emerge from the kaleidoscopic visions of Canadian artist Chris Millar, whose meticulous sculptures encompass a range of materials, mechanisms, and sound. Using clockmaking components along with cast resin, electronics, styrene, acrylic paints, and other materials, he constructs science fiction-inspired microcosmos in which enigmatic narratives unfold.
Through painstaking attention to detail, Millar creates each piece entirely from scratch. “Eclipse at Arc Valley,” the artist’s first exploration into work accompanied by music, took one-and-a-half years to complete and includes a handmade music box, bells, and gongs. “‘ADIT 42’ was started when I moved to Montreal and took two-and-a-half years to complete,” he tells Colossal. “It’s a kinetic sculpture that opens a vault door to reveal an entryway to a phantasmagorical otherworld.”
Spurred by ideas around portals and secret gateways, magic, and non-linear storytelling, Millar describes his approach as “kenophobic,” or characterized by an aversion to empty spaces. He densely fills tiny vignettes, platforms, and compartments with gem-like shapes, cameo portraits, architectural features, lighting elements, clocks, dials, and miniature landscape paintings. He says, “My practice has evolved into a highly detailed, high-craft process that pushes materiality and an excess of imagery to the limits of saturation.”
Millar recently moved his studio to Delson, Québec, and is currently working on two new pieces. While one is fashioned like a giant, ornate book inset with tiny paintings and sculptures, the other incorporates sound and clockwork with a music machine that is even more complex than “Eclipse at Arc Valley.” The artist is represented by TrépanierBaer, and you can explore more of his work in detail on his website.
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ADIT 42, 2019
Brass, aluminum, resin, electronics, and glass
42 x 38 x 16 inches
Photo by Jacques Bellavance