Amylee's new Adventure
Born in Nîmes, South of France, Amylee moved to Paris in 2002: employing her degree in Applied Arts with renowned Interior-decor and Fashion agencies. In 2008 she followed her real passion and moved into painting full time. Soon her work was spotted by a Parisian gallery and her career flourished.
Sultry and powerful are two adjectives to describe the vignette edged photorealistic portraits of Russian born painter Mila Alexander. Reflecting their maker, each word indicates a degree of managed self-awareness which manifests itself in the feminine strut of the artist and the confident depiction of her muses. A fiercely independent mind with a paintbrush as sharp as a razor, her brown eyed stare observes those she encounters. Searching for attitude and beauty, the artist bypasses vacant good looks in favour of interesting and compelling models.
Painted portraiture comes with a complex set of obstacles to navigate; capturing a likeness is the foundation, though communicating the thoughts on the mind of the sitter is an altogether different skill. With roots in status and cultural currency, once upon a time this artistic genre was the reserve of the elite in society. Only kings, queens and the upper classes could afford the privilege of commissioning a painting of their features, to ensure their faces were remembered. In true subversive style Mila Alexander hand selects her own subjects whose air fits her brief and agenda. Identifying strong females through social media and celebrity status, many have talents for performing and are thus accustomed to scrutiny; the result are portraits showcasing inner strength laced with the vulnerability of those who are judged.
Amylee's utterly singular 'Glamour Pop' portraits are influenced by 1970's design and psychedelic patterns, as well as modern couture: Christian Lacroix, Manish Arora or Yulia Yanina. Artistic influences include Klimpt, Monet and Lichtenstein.
" Art makes soul and heart feel better!"
The first body of original works presented at Wyecliffe depicted the singer Chloe Jasmin, who found a national platform auditioning for the X-Factor. The perfect choice for Alexander, her sitter was recognised for her fragile yet sensual presence used to accomplish compelling renditions of elegant lyrics from the 20th century. An old soul in a contemporary time and as platinum as Marilyn Monroe, the artist styled her subject in a cashmere top left open to expose the lace underwear below. Poised with lit cigarette in hand, Jasmin wears a black eye mask with Playboy bunny ears. Made infamous by Hugh Hefner, the ears have been appropriated by many artists to communicate sexuality and power. Each of the portraits was named with a different first name such as Clarisse and Carmen, to highlight the many roles and personalities comprised within a modern female, were purchased immediately by a series of astute collectors, including respected Spanish actor Antonio Banderas who purchased two works for his private collection.
In 2015, Amylee began a residency in the UK where here her background in textile and fashion manifested itself in new interest in pure abstracts. Thus her highly sought-after portraits were joined by richly textured canvas of pattern, colour, flower petals, impasto surfaces and gold-leaf.
A pause took place following this immediate success. Over a year in the making, the newest series of portrait works to arrive at the Wyecliffe studios in Weybridge have been anticipated by team and viewer alike. Developing concepts in her mind and transportable mood boards, Alexander admits that it takes months of preparation before she can act on her ideas by placing paintbrush to canvas.
The muse chosen, selected from thousands of faces was Scandinavian model Sylvia Flote. A keen friendship between the two women developed as the paintings progressed, contributing to the intensity and richness of the portraits. Flote’s aura of feminine playfulness and poetic nature helped to direct the works, with the artist constantly re-working to find new depth and meaning in the finished oil paintings. Alexander admits her model’s pale skin and richly coloured hair were challenging to paint as were the extravagant fabrics she was clothed in, though she was kept captivated and committed by the fire she found in the eyes of her new friend.
Each portrait is titled only to reveal a little behind this intense work process, leaving the reading open to the imagination of the viewer. Alexander is keen for her audience to connect with the sitter, without the interference of concept and rhetoric. Dance with Me, Hear Me Whisper, and Serenade are all life size works, impressive statement pieces. Of note is the striking red guitar in Serenade which is the artist’s own – a new passion is learning to play the instrument to focus the mind.
Future plans include expanding her collection of muses to become a painter come anthropologist, to depict women of all skin colours, reflecting the diversity of the global culture. A movement in society geared towards the equality of both genders, Alexander is at the forefront of an artistic and political zeitgeist championing women and the ownership of their own images. An artist on the rise, she represents an incredible fusion of traditional painterly talent alongside a contemporary vision.
After a gloriously productive 3-year residency in London, Amylee has returned to France, full of new ideas and inspirations… And with a brand new studio – all exposed timbers and whitewashed plaster; the perfect atmosphere for creativity!
A new collection of originals has been specially commissioned by Wyecliffe Galleries. We await the latest burst of creativity with baited breath…