Jennifer Mills is a Melbourne-based artist who makes exquisitely crafted watercolour and oil pastel drawings that juxtapose the technical expertise of the classically trained artist with a more intuitively creative hand. She is a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts and the winner of the 2002 Robert Jacks Drawing Prize at the Bendigo Art Gallery.
Mills' previous works have depicted a variety of animals, giraffes, goats, cows and birds all finely rendered in black and white watercolour. On each of the works a rough pastel scribble appears in much the same way as a child draws with crayon on a book. Mills says she is '...fascinated by the way scribble can change the meaning of a picture, the way graffiti on billboards changes the way they can be read'. She is interested in the way a playful scrawl can undercut an image, questioning where true creativity really lies.
In Mills’ forthcoming exhibition the beautifully drawn animals remain, but this time the artist’s playful scrawling has become even more integral to the depiction of these subjects. They are now variously clothed in pastel daubs, stripes and dots. Feathered and furry characters are cozily swathed in blankets of vibrant colour, while in a particular series, bats and birds are outfitted in roughly sketched 'super hero' costumes and titled after the Hollywood actors who have played them on the silver screen. Mills’ 'graffiti' has changed the meaning of the works once again in a manner which is at once unsettling and poignant.