I think I would hesitantly describe Wes Mills as a minimalist. Whether or not he would agree with my description remains to be seen.Having accidentally stumbled across his work, which featured as CD cover art for David Sylvian’s “Nine Horses” project, I was struck by how much he was able to convey with such an economy of means.
Mills works primarily with graphite, paring down his subject into diffuse shapes suspended in neutral space. Oftentimes using highly simplified gestural markings to define his subjects, they are in the main, almost stains or minute barely discernable blots and lines. Yet within these preternatural gestures, Mills has managed to bring a deeply spiritual, meditative perspective to his work, bringing to mind the work of Rothko, Beuys, and more recently, Anish Kapoor. Indeed, having leafed through Kapoor’s recent monograph of drawings, there is quite a striking similarity in the spareness of form, and the way that graphite has been blown onto the surface of the work, giving it a gaseous, spectral effect.
Having now seen the breadth and depth of Mills’ work for a host of galleries worldwide, he has apparently taken on board a minimalist ethic, that of attempting to shave away anything decorative or unneccessary, anything that might betray a sense of pre-determination, or of craft. Rather, what is on offer here are a series of contemplative pieces, some almost doodles, some intricately worked, and reworked, sometimes with apparently unrelated lines or drawings within, but still so evanescent, so “barely there”, that we are left pondering their significance. For me, these pieces are intensely private, intimate meditations, fetishes, the introspective work of an artist highly connected with his own spirituality. Like Beuys, Mills’ works at first appear to be ephemeral, casual, almost disposable, but closer inspection reveals the hand of a master, and an artist worthy of further investigation. BGN http://www.hosfeltgallery.com/HTML/artists/WesMills.htm