Art Crush: Jackie Milad in Baltimore Style Magazine

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If you haven’t seen it, check out the April issue of Baltimore Style Magazine. For their newest Portfolio column, I wrote about artwork by Baltimore-based artist and curator (and friend) Jacqueline Maria Milad. For those who have encountered Jackie at her place of business, where she is the Director of The Stamp Gallery at the University of Maryland College Park, you know that she is bright, engaging, and highly capable. However, if you have not experienced her mixed media drawings and paintings, consider this a long overdue introduction.


Drawings from the Ventriloquist Series

(Top Images from the Homage to Hildegard of Bingen Series)

Excerpt from Style Magazine “Body of Work” in the April 2014 Issue:

Floating in empty white fields, the drawings of Jacqueline Maria Milad proliferate into organic hives of pattern, color, and human body parts that manage to be both cute and cryptic at the same time. In her 2012 series of ink on paper, “The Ventriloquist Series,” Milad positions cartoonlike torsos in awkward pairs where each wears the other like a puppet, with arms in each other’s dresses. A visual conundrum, the arrangement renders an impossible outcome, where all the figures participating are both speaker and dummy. It is unclear if any of these women have a true voice or if all are being censored or cancelled out by one another. Milad further complicates these relationships by covering over most of her drawings with crisp black hatch marks and smudgy erasures.

“For most of my art-making life I have always wanted to be ambiguous about gender issues and to keep the meaning in my work mysterious,” admits Milad, who hails from Baltimore, but comes from an Egyptian and Honduran background. “However, lately I have become more comfortable with an overtly political message. I think a lot about the aging process and how women of color specifically, as they age, seem to disappear. I struggle with this idea of voices that aren’t heard or represented.”

In her newer, “Homage to Hildegard of Bingen” series, Milad began the drawings with floating clouds of mouths and noses, representing the voice of the Catholic Saint who was revered for her powerful visions and intellectual accomplishments. Much more robust than earlier works, these drawings feature mushrooming feather patterns, stars, and warm, feminine colors which envelop the faces like Mardi Gras regalia and masks. Are costumes meant to enhance or to hide? These drawings celebrate the accomplishments of a historical female figure, but also question the limits of her power.

Check out more at Baltimore Style dot com or read it in print on the news stands!

* Author Cara Ober is the Founding Editor at Bmoreart and occasionally moonlights as an arts writer for Baltimore Style Magazine.

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