Milano Chow

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What Is My Work About? 

My drawings use pictorial devices to consider visual literacy and memory. The imagery is centered around interiors and household possessions that are compositionally framed to suggest a voyeuristic type of viewing. The work combines different modes of markmaking and pictorial styles to recognize how objects become codified with narrative or value. In more recent pieces, objects are cut out and mounted onto a shared surface so the process of building an image becomes more evident.


Artist Statement

My work is influenced by the tradition of tromp l’oiel as a picture aware of its fabrication and of its position to the viewer. The drawings are arrangements within architectural and decorative elements, such as doorways or mantelpieces, which also provide a compositional structure. Recognizable objects such as shoes, flowers, and magazines function like props to suggest a human subject whose identity is left ambiguous. Many of the objects are found and altered from antique catalogues and online databases, design history, and home magazines, resulting in a pastiche of good taste.

The pictures are informed by advertising and store displays in their function as fictional coded spaces that use the viewer’s visual literacy and memory to project meaning onto images. Some drawings incorporate text to literalize the act of reading a picture or to conflate a representation with its description. Other drawings employ a picture-within-a-picture device to emphasize their use of pictorial vernacular. Though the drawings do not attempt true illusionism, they treat the picture surface as a façade that can be punctured by the impression of depth. Windows with glass suggest something behind them, while beveled edges provide the slightest depth for something to lean on.

Different types of markmaking combine graphic flatness with highly rendered form, borrowing from realism, commercial illustration, signage, clip art, and more recently, pattern and text. My drawing process is an attempt to render an image both legible and open-ended.



b. 1987, Los Angeles

Lives and works in Los Angeles, CA



2013    Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture

2009    BA Barnard College, New York, NY

2008    Yale Summer School of Art and Music, Norfolk, CT


Solo Exhibitions

2015    Young Art, Los Angeles, CA (upcoming)


Group Exhibitions

2014    “Openings,” Fused Space, San Francisco, CA

“Another Cats Show,” 356 Mission, Los Angeles, CA

“Ambulance Blues,” Basilica Hudson, Hudson, NY

“Two rocks do not make a duck,” LVL3, Chicago, IL

“Light Night,” Wallspace, New York, NY


2013    “Near Dark,” Young Art, Los Angeles, CA

“Breaking Night,” Vox Populi, Philadelphia, PA


2012    “VTA,” Sophia Jacob, Baltimore, MD

“The Real Conquests,” Favorite Goods, Los Angeles, CA


2009    “Blind Carbon Copy,” 179 Canal, New York, NY