Jack Milroy has been creating his ‘constructions’ for many years, and we’ve been looking forward to this solo show.
Milroy hand-cuts pictures out of book pages to give them an added three dimensionality, so they literally pop up from the pages. They vary in complexity from the simple sardines leaping above a tin, to a book on exotic birds where each bird is individually perching on its original page.
The artist also adds a sense of humour to his work — a book on sharks appears to have developed a set of teeth. Other clever interpretations show shreds of paper erupting out of a book on volcanoes, and glimpses of commuters falling along with autumn leaves in a work titled ‘fall’.
It’s the extremely detailed cut-outs of birds and flowers that are the most intricate and therefore impressive of his works. They feel both inventive yet very traditional — after all, who still looks up flower species in a book rather than on the internet? In an age when reference books are becoming less relevant, Milroy has found a use for them that makes people pay attention once more.
There is even an interpretation of Millais’ Ophelia — a woman flounders in the water with flowers above her and fishes and reeds beneath her, to make up a complete scene. Milroy’s work is both painstakingly precise yet also playful, thus making for a captivating exhibition of unique art.
In(ter)ventions by Jack Milroy is on at Art First, 21 Eastcastle Street, W1W 8DD until 25 January. Entrance is free.