Ruth Carlile Mills
I use painting and printmaking to explore contemplative spaces and the effect our surroundings has on our mental state. Curious about the capacity of both intense observation and meditative practices, my work incorporates drawing practices based on mindfulness techniques. I am influenced by the changing skies, the moon and stars, and the woodlands around my home in Shropshire. The opportunity to produce a piece of work for the Qube open based on ‘Reflections,’ was perfectly apt for my current working practices, and the strange experience of lockdown.
With the absence of a model, I turned to self portrait in order to more deeply convey a sense of peaceful, inward thought. The moon is a powerful and frequent motif for my work, as influenced by a vintage astronomy book given to me by my mother. Serene, powerful, and unchanging, in this piece of work, the moon becomes representative of an external influence. Feared, or revered, it is entirely beyond our control. The reflexivity in the work goes backwards and forwards in time, with the moon as a marker of the time that passes.
In Specular Light, the value of inhabiting a thoughtful, reflective space is explored by the relationship between the gaze of the self portrait, and a lunar body. The gaze is aware and looking back, rather than captured or captivated by the self. Reflective practices were magnified during lockdown, offering us all time to consider internal bias, privilege, anxiety and the effects of the uncontrollable outside world.
Since making Specular Light, my most recent works (on Instagram, @gloriousfloral) have used oil paint, canvas, and collagraphs of moons, skies, and forests, as I seek to protect or expose my contemplative figures in an environment that is both peaceful and threatening.
Find out more about Ruth here