Hours of operation

Altus Duel: Total Environment

Clare Milledge

1 February -
1 March 2014

200 Gertrude Street

200 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy

Gertrude Contemporary presented Clare Milledge’s exhibition Altus Duel: Total Environment. Milledge transformed the Front Gallery into a walk-in painting with remnants of ritual and overtones of Jodorowsky.

The installation combined wall and floor paintings, sculpture, costume and an armour of beer caps from her ongoing Psychomagic performance project in an immersive scene that enfolded the viewer.

Milledge’s works are rich with pattern, symbolically laden shapes and implied ritualism. She aligns an invented pre-history with contemporary culture, revealing concepts once labelled primitive as inherent. Texts are scavenged from newspapers and online sources identifying a human concern with transcendence, repression of animality and a perceived sense of progression. Together the works  create a tangle of spiritual referents and gesture toward mystic significance yet never clarify their purpose. In Altus Duel: Total Environment these signifiers will detach from dogma and be thrown into the field of potential.

Using Hinterglasmalerei, an unusual painting technique on the reverse of glass associated with Byzantine religious icons, Milledge builds colour, geometry and text into ominous and mesmeric paintings which dance between embrace and critique.

Milledge’s practice engages the realm of mysticism to generate open-ended ambivalence. She proposes the figure of the artist-shaman who gives the ‘gift of sight’, not by imposing a vision, but by allowing viewers to produce their own. To facilitate this possibility Milledge avoids the end game, instead destabilising the moral stability of binaries through her process-based practice. Dualities like good and evil, profane and sacred, pure and impure are shown to be shifting and subjective.

A performance by Bakers Delight, a collaboration between Melbourne sound artists Joel Stern and Tarquin Manek, occured in the gallery in conjunction with Altus Duel: Total Environment on Saturday 1st February, 5pm – 6pm.

Bakers Delight was established in 1980 as a single bakery on Glenferrie Road in the Melbourne suburb of Hawthorn, Victoria.  Bakers Delight has over 700 bakeries globally. Bakers Delight entered the Canadian market in 2003, trading as COBS Bread, and now has over 50 bakeries in 3 provinces. All of the United States bakeries were shut down after an attempt to enter the US market was unsuccessful.

Clare Milledge lives and works in Sydney. She has a Bachelor of Visual Arts (Painting) with Honours, from the Sydney College of the Arts, The University of Sydney and Statenskunst Akademi, Oslo and a Doctor of Philosophy from Sydney College of the Arts, the University of Sydney.

Solo exhibitions include Anthropocene Circle: Theory Theory, Kalimanrawlins, Melbourne (2013); Motivated Reasoning: Strategic, Tactical, Operational, The Commercial Gallery, Sydney (2013); Maximalist Ritualist (with Carla Cescon) at the Australian Experimental Art Foundation, Adelaide (2012).

Group exhibitions include Unstable Parts in an Unfriendly Place (with Carla Cescon and Tina Havelock Stevens), Institute of Contemporary Art Newtown (ICAN), Sydney (2013); What Lies Beneath, Goulburn Regional Art Gallery, New South Wales (2013); The Sleeping and the Dead, Sarah Scout, Melbourne (2013); THREE/THREE – Clare Milledge, Lillian O’Neil, Yasmin Smith, Mary Teague, curated by Amanda Rowell, The Commercial Gallery, Sydney (2012); Un-Acclimatised, curated by Catherine Bennetts-Cash at Monash University Art Museum, Melbourne; Ladies and Gentlemen curated by Matthys Gerber at Yuill Crowley, Sydney (2012)

Clare Milledge is represented by The Commercial Gallery, Sydney.

This project was supported by Arts NSW's NSW Artists' Grant Scheme, a devolved funding program administered by the National Association for the Visual Arts on behalf of the NSW Government.


  • Clare Milledge

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