Installation view, Michael C. McMillen: Red Trailer Motel, 2004.

Michael C. McMillen: Red Trailer Motel

Image Gallery Exhibition File

April 10 - June 13, 2004

Michael C. McMillen's Red Trailer Motel installation is a signature McMillen enterprise. Known both for his exquisite small-scale sculptures that often involve sound and visual effects as well as large-scale installation pieces, McMillen explores the complex realms of memory, history, and imagination. With a keen sense of atmospheric ambiance and perceptual play, McMillen creates environments that meld the illusionism of cinema with a personal, evocative vision.

Saturday, April 10 at 7:00 pm, Artist Talk in the Psychology Auditorium
Followed by an opening reception at the Cooley Gallery at 8:00 pm. Free and open to the public.

As the son of a Hollywood set designer and builder, McMillen grew up surrounded by the craft and magic that defined his father's trade. Walking into a McMillen environment, you immediately appreciate the skills that he developed from early and continued exposure to the film industry. It is not his technical acumen that distinguishes McMillen's work, however, but rather the mysterious territory that his work explores. McMillen's enigmatic environments contain abundant visual cues—and are by no means minimal. Viewers are confronted with what often feels like a parallel universe—one that looks, feels, and perhaps even smells like ours, but is divergent in hidden and extraordinary ways.

Entering Red Trailer Motel the viewer is immediately aware of McMillen's subtle manipulations. The receding hallway feels strange; the distant doorway seemingly much farther away than it should be. Not unlike falling through Alice's looking glass, pushing through Red Trailer Motel's screen door one is transported. Crushed stone grinds underfoot, and the screech of the screen door jars your senses. The structure before you is gravitational, drawing the viewer into an orbit both known and otherworldly. Things aren't what they appear in the Red Trailer Motel.

—Silas Cook