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Beth Sorensen
Office of Communications

Michael C. McMillen's "Red Trailer Motel" opens April 10 at Reed's Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery

PORTLAND, OR (March 16, 2004) - Red Trailer Motel , the newest mixed media and video installation by celebrated Los Angeles artist Michael C. McMillen, will be on view at Reed College's Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery from April 10 through June 13, 2004 . The exhibition is free and open to the public.

Opening reception : On Saturday, April 10 , Michael C. McMillen will give a slide presentation on his work at 7 p.m. in Reed's psychology auditorium (room 105), followed by a question and answer session. A reception will follow at 8 p.m. in front of the Cooley Art Gallery entrance.

Built of corrugated metal, tar paper, old signs, and an odd assortment of scavenged materials--including found video footage--McMillen entices the viewer into an enigmatic post-industrial world: one ripe with strange scale shifts and subversive material juxtapositions. In the Red Trailer Motel , things are rarely what they seem.

"McMillen has the uncanny ability to create environments that engage both one's dormant childhood curiosity and our more structured intellectual queries," notes Silas Cook, assistant director of the Cooley Art Gallery and curator of the exhibition.   "With keen attention to the minutia of detail, the illusion of light, and the ambience of sound, McMillen's visions trick the eye; distort our sense of time, and open new venues of exploration."

Red Trailer Motel is a signature McMillen enterprise. Known both for his exquisite small-scale sculptures that often involve sound and visual effects and his large-scale installation pieces, McMillen explores the complex realms of memory, history, and imagination. With a keen sense of atmospheric ambiance and illusion, McMillen creates environments that morph the suspended disbelief of cinema with his own evocative aesthetic. As the son of a Hollywood scenic artist and builder, McMillen grew up surrounded by the craft and magic that defined his father's trade, and the skills that he gleaned lend to the presence of his work.

It is not his technical acumen, however, that distinguishes McMillen's work, but rather the mysterious territory his work explores. Viewing a McMillen installation is by no means a minimal experience, with its lavish visual cues. Viewers are confronted with what often feels like a parallel universe--one that looks, feels, and perhaps even smells like ours, but which ultimately differs in hidden and extraordinary ways.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, McMillen earned both an M.A. and M.F.A. from UCLA. He has exhibited widely and established himself as an early exponent of installation art. One-person exhibitions include the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1977 (he went on to earn a Young Talent Award from LACMA in 1983); the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1978; the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Australia, 1980; and the Oakland Museum, 1991-92.

McMillen has earned a number of grants for his installation projects, receiving support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, and the Getty Center for the Arts, among others. In 1999 he received a Flintridge Foundation award. McMillen's work is in several public collections, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, where his beloved installation Central Meridian (often referred to as The Garage ) is on view.

Admission to the Cooley Gallery and its exhibitions is always free and open to the public. For information and hours, please visit or call the gallery information line at 503/777-7790.

For more information or to receive images from the exhibition, please contact Beth Sorensen, office of communications, at 503/777-7574 or at .

Reed College, in Portland, Oregon, is an undergraduate institution of the liberal arts and sciences dedicated to sustaining the highest intellectual standards in the country. With an enrollment of about 1,360 students, Reed ranks third in the undergraduate origins of Ph.D.s in the United States and second in the number of Rhodes scholars from a liberal arts college (31 since 1915). For more information, visit

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