Millie Kelly: Precious Cargo

30 April - 21 May 2022

Gallery Ascend is pleased to announce a solo presentation by British artist Millie Kelly.

Millie Kelly’s recent paintings explore the imagined and natural world through caricature, figuration and at times, abstraction. Her love for painting and the inherent experimentation involved in the process is clear to see in a melee of techniques; heavily applied paint, staining, layering, and the use of oil bars. These works celebrate the honesty of workings-out on the canvas, where elements have often been rubbed away or painted over, leaving behind evidence of the painting's creation.


‘Precious Cargo’ invites the viewer on the artist's personal journey as she embarks on motherhood. The 8 paintings on show at the gallery are visual emblems of her own psyche as she navigates the wonders of an ever changing pregnant body, emotions and as a result, her approach to painting. The birds in the paintings host a range of emotions, joy, humour and at times an essence of uneasiness or uncertainty, as the artist's vulnerabilities during this tumultuous time are reflected. As a result of these heightened emotions and experiences, Kelly believes this to be her truest and most honest body of work to date.


The imagery is a projection of her own fantasised world. The reflections, scale and vantage points are interpretations of her own imagination. There is a naivety to the way in which they have been painted - whimsical and distorted, intentionally not always making sense. They allow for play and visually portray an awkwardness that is painterly and joyful. The imagery in the paintings encompasses and celebrates a new abundance of life. Exotic plants debut in her works amongst the idiosyncrasy of her birds; the water feels calm yet bursts with colour and energy. We, as the viewers, are made to feel excited by what’s to come next.