I’ve long been a fan of the work of artist Milly Sharple – particularly her fractal art (see my article on her Fractal Insanity exhibit at Timamoon Arts) – as well as her flair for region design, which I’ve blogged about twice in relation to her homestead region of Isles of Lyonesse when it given winter makeovers for public enjoyment in 2014/15 and 2015/16.
It is to Isles of Lyonesse that I recently returned, as it is now the home for an an extensive exibition of Milly arts in a gallery complex she has collectively called New Fractal Insanity, a reference to her small gallery space, Fractal Insanity, at Timamoon Arts.
Housed within three buildings arranged to form a peaceful central quadrangle between them, New Fractal Insanity offers plenty of space for Milly to showcase her work, which encompasses both fractal and abstract art, the latter of which also incorporates both expressionist and surrealist leanings, many of which utilise her photography as their point of origin.
Milly’s fractal art is almost instantly recognisable wherever it is displayed; there is a beautifully organic feel to it which demonstrates just why fractal pieces are so captivating. Generated by algorithms they might be, but Milly work offers stunning images which between them ideas such as capture the vibrant pulse and flicker of a flame caught in a faint draught of air, the sweep and flow of coloured oils on water and the texture and look of flower heads, petals and leaves. Even within the more abstract pieces, which may more prominently feature “traditional” Mandelbrot and Julia Sets, this organic sweep and turn is retained.
Offered in the second of the two larger gallery buildings, Milly’s abstract art continues this theme of organic origins, whether the art is founded on fractal work or Milly’s photography. Some of this is very obvious (but no less eye-catching), such as the series of (fractal-based?) studies of flowers, while others may be more subtle in their organic lines and flow.
It is in this wing that the rich mix of abstract, impressionism and surrealism intertwine across two floors of art. Here visitors can find images strong in modern abstract expressionism with bold colours and sweeping or angular lines, whilst others a present a surrealist abstract view of the digital world. These latter are, for me, most beautifully offered through a series of paintings based on Mistero Hifeng’s sculptures (two of which are shown below). Elsewhere there are images strong suggestive of art generally produced through other mediums, such as oil on glass, all of which adds up to a thoroughly engrossing exhibition.
The third building bordering the quadrangle has a more industrial look to it. While open to exploration, the doors carry the warning Caution! Woman at Work!, suggesting this is perhaps intended to be more a workspace / studio more than “purely” a gallery space. Within it can be found more of Milly’s abstract pieces, some of which can be seen in the “main” gallery spaces, together with a examples of her landscape art.
New Fractal Insanity is a place in which one can easily lose oneself; I wandered back and forth through the galleries for over two hours, examining and re-examining the art on display, finding myself lost in the rich depth of Milly’s fractal work or admiring her ability to encompass so much within her abstract pieces, or simply mesmerized by her animated works, several of which are soothingly hypnotic in their effect.
All of the pieces on exhibition are available for purchase, and with comfortable seating throughout, as well as a coffee shop, the galleries offer lots of space to sit and consider purchases or to just admire the art to a select of chill-out tunes over the audio stream. Even if you don’t make a purchase during a visit, do consider offering a donation towards the region’s upkeep via Milly’s tip kitties – one of whom seem to be particularly enjoying the audio stream!
- New Fractal Insanity (Rated: General)