Mary Mary is delighted to present ‘Egg and Tongue,’ a solo exhibition by Milano Chow and her first in the UK. Chow presents a group of new works on paper that continue her use of ornamental motifs around imagined facades and interiors.
‘Egg and Tongue’ lingers on the frame. The frame acts as the edge or enclosure of a picture, the structural skeleton of a building, or the description of a person’s build (“a slender frame”). The film frame is an isolated still image that operates as a marker of time passed. The frame can also be immaterial – a liminal space between the interior and the exterior and between the visible and the invisible.
In Milano Chow’s drawings, frames are represented by ornate borders and architectural objects such as mantelpieces, windows, and mirrors. These boundaries establish visual fields and frames within frames that emphasize the drawings’ construction. Influenced by the apparatus of movie and theatre sets, particularly black-and-white film, the compositions use devices that manipulate and confuse perception. Slight shadows give the smallest implication of a ground and extreme shifts in scale indicate receding space. These cues rely on a conditioned eye trained in the language of commerce and entertainment.
The frames are occupied by female figures borrowed from fashion magazines and catalogues, sources of staged photography that share the drawings’ heightened artifice. In Chow’s work, turtlenecks, socks-in-heels, and berets (these signs of slightly dated fashions) create a displacement of time and era, in conjunction with the anachronistic ornamentation of the settings’ architecture. The women glance beyond the picture planes, as if the act of looking is a means of puncturing the frames’ edges.
May Mary (press release)