Biography



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Wardell Milan (b. 1977, Knoxville, Tennessee)

Throughout his practice, Milan sustains a thoughtful inquiry into the nature of beauty and the unconscious, touching on topics such as body modification and gender performance. His most recent series, Parisian Landscapes, explores the duality between marginalization and freedom of expression, imagining paces where the marginalized body is able to express itself and move about the world freely.
His most recent group of significant works on paper, two approximately six- by eight-foot drawings (both 2018) present dynamic groups of enigmatic individuals cast within idyllic scenery, which the artist animates with an architectural swirl of geometric patterning. In making these works, Milan also takes a journey through the history of photography – invoking Henri Cartier-Bresson, Nobuyoshi Araki, Gordon Parks, Garry Winogrand, and others – seeking out compositional ideas and physiognomic cues in an array of iconic imagery. Milan’s collages often incorporate cut out photographs, including iconic work by Diane Arbus and Robert Mapplethorpe as well as Charles Hoff.
Milan studied photography at the University of Tennessee and Yale University. Works by the artist can be found in the collections of The Art Institute of Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; Denver Art Museum; Brooklyn Museum, New York, Hessel Museum of Art, Bard College; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Morgan Library & Museum, New York; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Whitney Museum of Art, New York; UBS Art Collection; Daniel and Florence Guerlain Contemporary Art Foundation, Paris; Hall Art Foundation; and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Milan lives and works in New York.