Mills Brown (b. 1993) is a painter based in Oxford, UK. Featuring intimate interiors and swampy landscapes, Brown's work places female figures within dreamlike renderings of the American South. Mills holds an MFA in Studio Art from American University (2017) and a BA in English and Art History from Wofford College (2015). Selected exhibitions include Interiors at Latela Curatorial in Washington, DC (2019) and Welcome at Redux Contemporary Art Center in Charleston, SC (2021).
Taking inspiration from my childhood in South Carolina, my paintings reinvent familial and Southern myths. Themes of memory, family, and femininity surface throughout the work as I explore a tension between safety and threat. I am influenced by the Southern Gothic literary tradition and particularly enamored by this genre's use of the uncanny and supernatural. I seek to present an atmospheric perspective on the American South through painted effects of light, shadow, and glow. Recent works feature an ethereal orb of light, which signifies hope, or insight, or creativity, or erotic power as championed by Audre Lorde. The figures who cradle this glowing light are both nurturing and fierce, warm and determined. The traditionally assigned role of nurturer has too often been turned against women within a larger system that constricts us to narrow spheres and even narrower access to power. However, in these rewritten visual myths, the feminine becomes heroic in her deep knowledge of self, body, and land, and the intuitive ability to protect and heal is her power.