Focus on Art – September 2012

Focus on Art

By Rob Mohr

Milo Needles – “The Fine Art of Psychological Disclosure”



Thomas Merton understood, “Every one of us is shadowed by an illusory person: a false self … “

Once in a rare while you meet someone who makes you glad to be alive – to be a part of our imperfect but perfectly human community. Milo Needles is such a person. His perseverance and his capacity to see beyond the surface of life have resulted in paintings and drawings that open to the viewer an evocative psychological world that simultaneously informs and stimulates. Facades are stripped away and illusions crumble.

“My paintings come like premonitions – it is not magic – it is years of training, looking and seeing, probing for a catalytic window. When I first arrived in Ajijic, it was the cobble stones. When I was in Baja, it was the ocean.”

Milo’s alert creative eye ‘sees’ the world with keen awareness, an essential beginning place for the creative mind. He moves the surface aside, the easily apparent, and goes deep into the heart of what is there.

In his painting, “Fat Guy on the Beach” a man alone on his beach-front terrace observes the top of an umbrella peeking out above a dune, and wonders what life might be like underneath its cover. The composition, color, form, pattern, and narrative combine to manifest a profound sense of loneliness and isolation. <>

In “The Wedding Photo”, the metaphorical image of beauty and beast, a passive and satisfied male ape, sporting spats, clutches a thin fish-woman with a hard and inflexible look fixed on her face. The scene leaves the viewer wondering which is beauty and which is beast. Equally intriguing is the setting – figures and table float (there is no chair or table legs), creating the sense of a world where hidden truths are being uncovered.

Milo’s painting, “Lakeside Overture”, captures the psychological essence of a self-assured woman. As in all of Milo’s paintings this work is full of clues that reveal what is hidden and what is illusion. I invite you, the reader, to analyze this work in light of our lives here at lakeside. (Photo)

“I see something out there – it grows and begins to take form – a story emerges as I paint. This narrative gives life to my work.”

Milo extracts what is most vital in what he has seen. His paintings begin with a sketch which he transfers to the canvas. He then applies full-hue colors to block out the composition. A final dry brushing over the base colors softens the focus.

In 1964 Milo rode a bus from Boise Idaho to Mexico City to study art at the Universidad de las Americas. After he received his BFA degree, a rich and diverse life unfolded as Milo painted sets for major movie, theatre, ballet, and opera companies; designed American towns for films made in Romania; and served as art director for music videos for Paul Simon, The Grateful Dead, Fleetwood Mac, and other famous performers. He was gang boss for crews doing scenic art for the 1984 Olympics, and for the Democratic convention in San Francisco. Whew! His paintings have been exhibited in museums, galleries and competitive shows throughout Europe, Mexico and the USA.

You are invited to enjoy the works of this fascinating artist on exhibition at the Galeria Gecko, Ocampo #61, Ajijic, beginning with a reception (drinks and snacks) on Friday, September 21, at five PM.

“I never toss off anything. Everything is seriously considered and completed.” Milo Needles


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