Gary McMillan creates images of everyday surroundings while referencing the world of old film noir and science fiction films. A fascination with film and its relationship to painting is prevalent in his works. McMillan’s paintings evoke a cinematic experience: the moment of suspense before something happens, or just following.
The images used for his paintings are taken from films that McMillan makes for the solely for referencing purposes. While the environments depicted are a famil- iar Auckland, his treatment of figures and light creates a tension between what is seen and unseen. The works deliberately play with the notion of time: “a painting takes many months to complete; yet it represents a fleeting moment, like a film- frame that has been removed from its sequence.”
McMillan’s use of titles enforce this cinematic alignment. Paintings that resemble casting shots, as the camera zooms in on a gasp or a scream, are titled ‘Number’ while the rest are called ‘Scene’. The works have been randomly numbered, en- forcing the inconclusive narrative of the works that allows viewers to create their own conclusions.
Peter Dornauf of EyeContact has written of McMillan’s technical virtuosity, and the way in which his works “possess an element of mystery with an undertone of menace or disquiet.”
Gary McMillan was the supreme winner at the New Zealand Painting and Printmaking Awards 2012, and his works feature in the James Wallace collection.