Credits Aurélien Mole
Painting for a short future - Mia Vallance solo show
December 16th 2022 - January 14th 2023
81 boulevard Beaumarchais 75003 Paris
“A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either” - T.S Elliot, Wasteland.
Mia Vallance’s Painting for a Short Future presents a perturbed body of work. Frenetic
brushstrokes amongst swathes of colour have come to be her signature, but what is
debuting here is an overwhelming sense of decay and uncertainty. The paintings in the show
echo T.S Elliot’s oneiric yet corporeal poem Wasteland. Having referenced the line ‘breeding
lilacs out of the dead earth,’ Mia’s paintings suggest heavy heads on thin stems, seeping
colours marred by overwhelming browns and dark places. There’s a timelessness to the
phenomenon of decay, yet she also acknowledges the specificity of the disconcerting times
she paints in.
There is a sense of an increased scale in her new paintings- grand and simultaneously
microscopic. The gestures seem sky bound, monumental in their reach and unsure in their
opacity. The washes of colour are hasty to be too loud, instead concerned with the ‘glow’- as
if there is something else at hand. The nature of a colour placed beneath another gives the
paintings literal depth and allows for a magnetism to the work which both pushes and pulls.
Mia enjoys playing with this luminescence, we can imagine the static images moving as the
The placelessness of her paintings heightens the feeling of an unnerving. A glowing from
elsewhere comes to function as something impending- awaiting something sinister in this
short proceeding future. Mia imagines paintings in an entropic environment. Do the works
depict the cloud hanging over them or the fight against? Having the two works Breath and
Untitled/ Suffocate in the show toy with this dichotomy. Before they have fully formed in front
of us the images are already slipping away in fading hues and amorphous forms. Chemistry
and an emphasis on pigments and solvents are important to her process in order to get the
desired effect of ‘dissolving, emerging, erasure.’ These words ring true to the lack of grip one
has on an image of the future which is equally being destroyed as it unfolds.
Comparing the x- shape butterfly wing motif which appears in several of the paintings in this
show but perhaps most evidently in Raw Umber to a Scalextric set is perhaps exactly the
kind of city- pace these paintings are trying to avoid. Though undoubtedly Mia’s
London-based practice means the inner city is indeed the perspective they’ve been painted
from. While the works do indeed glimmer and bleed in direction of the decelerative, they
acknowledge the disquiet from which they have been born.
Words by Esme Blair