Next Big Things: Milano Chow
Milano Chow presents fictional architectures and framed narratives with beautifully detailed pencil drawings and collage
Los Angeles artist Milano Chow’s elegant graphite drawings and collaged photo transfers depicting imaginary neoclassical buildings and interior spaces recall film stills and stage sets of a bygone era. “My works use architecture and ornament as framing devices around voyeuristic scenes,” says Chow, who showed at the 2019 Whitney Biennial. “I’m also thinking of how public and private space are being redefined by consumer tools like phone cameras.”
Unique process: Chow begins by scouring books and hard drives for reference images of building façades and furniture, which she combines into different pieces before working with traditional drafting tools like rulers, compasses, and X-Acto knives. “I’m a slow worker and build up the drawing from light to dark. In recent pieces, I started cutting out the windows and doors and collaging the interiors from the back so there is a slight recess and physicality to the drawings. In the last stages, I add paint and ink to emphasize the highlights and shadows. I then collage in figures which are made via a simple toner transfer.”
Inspirations: Martin Wong, Roger Brown, Christina Ramberg, Domenico Gnoli. Lately, movies by Douglas Sirk, Edward Yang, and Tsai Ming-liang. “I also love looking at antiques and clothes,” she says.
Up next: Group exhibitions at the Aspen Art Museum and Standard (Oslo). Don’t miss her work in “100 Drawings from Now” at the Drawing Center in New York through January 17, 2021. milanochow.com
“Milano’s work is mesmerizing for its quietness and detail. I could stare into one of her drawings for a century. There is something so compelling in the way she renders space, time, and scale totally abstract.”Adam Charlap Hyman, architect and designer