Brown Room is Claire Milbrath’s play on traditional still-life painting. The scene takes place in the home of Poor Gray, Milbrath’s central character. Poor Gray, a wealthy, idle man, symbolizes the futility of the upper class. The scene reads as luxurious and funny, but with tones of anxiety looming in the brown backdrop. Milbrath uses classical hues to cover up the perverse sense of humour within the work.
Claire Milbrath (b. 1989, Victoria, British Columbia) is an artist and editor-in-chief of the art publication The Editorial Magazine. Milbrath’s work is informed by various naive painters, such as Henri Rousseau and Séraphine Louis, especially in their disregard for both the rules of perspective and classical rendering of the human form. Her work is centred around her character Poor Gray, an aimless, wealthy, anxious man. She explores themes of gender, challenging traditional concepts of masculinity by depicting Gray as vulnerable, effeminate, and idle. Through Poor Gray, she is also interested in satirizing the portrayal of power and wealth throughout the history of oil painting.
Milbrath’s work has been shown internationally, including solo exhibitions at Steve Turner (Los Angeles) and Projet Pangée (Montreal), as well as group exhibitions at 0-0 LA (Los Angeles), Lisa Kehler Art + Projects (Winnipeg), AC Repair Co. (Toronto), and SFAQ (San Francisco). Her work has been reviewed in, among others, It’s Nice That, Vice Magazine, I-D Magazine, Dazed & Confused, Jezebel, and Oyster Magazine.