Keith Milow born 1945
T01279 3nterference 1970–71
Resin, lead, Permatrace, perspex and fluorescent light, 60 x 36 x 22 (152.5 x 91.5 x 56).
Purchased from the artist through Nigel Greenwood Inc. Ltd. (Grant-in- Aid) 1971.
Exh: I.C.A., February 1971 (no catalogue); City Art Gallery, Leeds, April–May 1972 (25, repr.).
Lit: Anne Seymour, ‘Choice states …’ (notes on Milow’s work, and statement by Milow based on conversations with Anne Seymour), in Studio International, CLXXXIII, 1972, pp. 112–15 (repr.).
Like T01213, which is part of the series ‘Improved Reproductions’, T01279 is one of a group of six works which present afresh and reinterpret an earlier work by Milow himself. The initial work in this case was ‘JJ INTERFERENCE RS’1969 (resin,
fibreglass and acrylic, 47½ x 21 x 13; reproduced in catalogue of 1972 Leeds retrospective). Each of the six works in this group imitates the format (a triangular box in deep relief) of ‘JJ INTEFRENCE RS’ this box being increased in height to 60 in., and presented in translucent resin and fibreglass rather than being opaque as in the original. The title of each work in this group elides the word ‘Interference’ with a number from 1 to 6 indicating the sequence in which Milow completed the works within it. Nos. 4 and 6 in the group are reproduced in the catalogue of Milow’s 1972 Leeds retrospective.
In the interview with Anne Seymour (loc. cit.), Milow explained how ‘having recognised the dialogue between the IMPROVED REPRODUCTIONS’ original and the final piece (T01213), I felt one could enjoy this state of affairs a little longer and make another scries, which had as its premise the making of a solid piece transparent, and somehow more pictorial. The original picture for INTERFERENCE was a small, very dense, leaden picture which gives a misleading impression of weight. The resulting series was to do with several ideas rather than one idea which stretched over a series, though the last three involve the same technique of suspending a photograph in front of the piece. I made six of the triangles to begin with, without having any real idea of how I was going to treat them, except that I wanted to play with the picture surface and the orientation of the picture surface to the wall plane. That there seems to be more directness in terms of materials is a product of allowing them to exist in their own right, without imposing too much on them, by drawing for instance. And realising in the case of the Permatrace its property to blur features which would otherwise be distinctive.’
In a statement on T01279 written for the Tate Gallery in June 1972, the artist added:
‘ “JS INTERFERENCE RS” was the sixth of a series of six works whose basic pre-occupalion was that of images perceived through interference.’
'The “interference” was mostly achieved by laying dense layers of translucent resin onto well-defined and accurately painted images. “JJ RS INTERFERENCE” itself dealt most explicitly with a T.V. reference in that I enclosed the image in a box, (although the box was triangular and loosely moulded in clay and cast in resin imitating lead) getting in back behind two systems of “interference". One was a series of bands made with bronze powder the other a surface of loosely painted resin imitating sperm.’
‘3nterference imitated, as did the rest of the series, the shape of JJ RS INTERFERENCE.
In this version I attempted to imitate the image surface of the original. (The major, near frontal, plane). Finding this unsatisfactory I then tried to make a ‘negative’ version by painting the ‘frontal’ plane with lead/resin, the enclosing ‘box’ being the lighter element by installing a fluorescent light behind the triangular structure.
‘By sanding down the lead through to a previous layer of white and grey resin I achieved a mottled effect. I decided to halt there for a fortuitous effect of using a rotary grinder left me with rounded corners which specifically referred to an abandoned idea concerning JJ RS INTERFERENCE where the piece was to have curved corners. Having reached this stage and wanting to maintain all that I had done so far I was still in an unsatisfactory state. Focus was another aspect of projected imagery, although not special to television, but it seemed to relate. I suspended permatrace over the “picture” surface turning if into a blur. The permatrace was then cut to reassert the 2 x 1 ft. rectangular original format of the picture before it was cut diagonally to make a triangle.’
‘The work was started in July of 1970 in Leeds, and completed early February 1971. Most pieces were worked on simultaneously although they were all completed in the order that they are numbered. It was my second attempt to make a series based on JJ RS INTERFERENCE’ In May 1970, in London, I had started to cast direct from JJ RS INTERFERENCE in clear resin. This was abandoned due to practical limitations. By making each INTERFERENCE individually I was therefore able to increase the size. This work is now in slide form ready to be made into a further piece which may be called AN INTERFERENCE UNMADE-MADE.’
Versions of the ‘Interference’ subject additional to those listed above are a small maquette for the original work, and three collages dated 1971 each of which interprets one of nos. 4, 5 and 6 from the same group as T01279.
Published in The Tate Gallery Report 1970–1972, London 1972.