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Art

#Chris Millar#clocks#science fiction#sculpture#sound

Music, Magic, and Machines: Exquisite Details Unfurl From Chris Millar’s Phantasmagoric Sculptures

July 31, 2023

Kate Mothes

An incredibly detailed science fiction-inspired sculpture with clockwork mechanisms and tiny compartments.

Detail of “ADIT 42” (2019), brass, aluminum, resin, electronics, and glass, 42 x 38 x 16 inches. Photo by Jacques Bellavance. All images © Chris Millar, shared with permission

Worlds within worlds emerge from the kaleidoscopic visions of Canadian artist Chris Millar, whose meticulous sculptures encompass a range of materials, mechanisms, and sound. Using clockmaking components along with cast resin, electronics, styrene, acrylic paints, and other materials, he constructs science fiction-inspired microcosmos in which enigmatic narratives unfold.

Through painstaking attention to detail, Millar creates each piece entirely from scratch. “Eclipse at Arc Valley,” the artist’s first exploration into work accompanied by music, took one-and-a-half years to complete and includes a handmade music box, bells, and gongs. “‘ADIT 42’ was started when I moved to Montreal and took two-and-a-half years to complete,” he tells Colossal. “It’s a kinetic sculpture that opens a vault door to reveal an entryway to a phantasmagorical otherworld.”

Spurred by ideas around portals and secret gateways, magic, and non-linear storytelling, Millar describes his approach as “kenophobic,” or characterized by an aversion to empty spaces. He densely fills tiny vignettes, platforms, and compartments with gem-like shapes, cameo portraits, architectural features, lighting elements, clocks, dials, and miniature landscape paintings. He says, “My practice has evolved into a highly detailed, high-craft process that pushes materiality and an excess of imagery to the limits of saturation.”

Millar recently moved his studio to Delson, Québec, and is currently working on two new pieces. While one is fashioned like a giant, ornate book inset with tiny paintings and sculptures, the other incorporates sound and clockwork with a music machine that is even more complex than “Eclipse at Arc Valley.” website.

An incredibly detailed science fiction-inspired sculpture with clockwork mechanisms and tiny compartments, including a music box.

“ADIT 42.” Photo by Jacques Bellavance

A detail of an elaborate science fiction-inspired sculpture.

Detail of “ADIT 42.” Photo by Jacques Bellavance

A detail of an elaborate science fiction-inspired sculpture.

Detail of “ADIT 42.” Photo by Jacques Bellavance

An elaborate science fiction-inspired sculpture.

“Eclipse at Arc Valley” (2021-22), resin, acrylic paint, brass, aluminum, steel, and glass, 57 x 19 x 14 inches. Photo by Jacques Bellavance

Two details of an elaborate science fiction-inspired sculpture.

Details of “Eclipse at Arc Valley.” Photo by Jacques Bellavance

A detail of an elaborate science fiction-inspired sculpture.

Detail of “Eclipse at Arc Valley.” Photo by Jacques Bellavance

A detail of an elaborate science fiction-inspired sculpture.

Detail of “Eclipse at Arc Valley.” Photo by Jacques Bellavance

An elaborate science fiction-inspired sculpture.

“370H55V” (2011), acrylic paint, styrene, ABS, brass, glass, and wood, 68 x 40 x 31 inches

A detail of an elaborate science fiction-inspired sculpture, featuring playing cards and other architectural elements.

Detail of “370H55V”

Two details of an elaborate science fiction-inspired sculpture.

Details of “370H55V”

#Chris Millar#clocks#science fiction#sculpture#sound

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