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Videos / January 11, 2017

In the Studio with Darby Milbrath

Toronto artist Darby Milbrath started out in dance—and her evocative paintings and drawings still reflect the power of bodies in space.

Studio-visit videos can offer a fascinating look inside the creative process, but, inevitably, there are countless details and aspects of an artist’s environment that cannot be captured on camera. In the case of Darby Milbrath’s plant-filled Toronto studio, the most obvious omission is scent—her space is permeated with a heady mix of essential oils.

It’s no surprise that Milbrath, who has a background in perfumery, takes scent seriously, as it is indicative of her wider artistic approach—her belief that art-making, and painting and drawing in particular, are embodied, physical exercises. Another example of this: Milbrath, who was originally born in Victoria and worked as a professional dancer, warms up before she begins working.

Entirely self-taught, Milbrath often pulls from her background in dance for her subject matter, which usually includes bodies (often female) in movement. But lately she’s been branching out and experimenting with landscapes and animals.

Milbrath started painting relatively recently, but she’s had showings at Erin Stump Projects in Toronto and at Project Pangée in Montreal. With the latter, she will be exhibiting at the upcoming Material Art Fair in Mexico City in February.

See more of Milbrath’s work and process in this studio-visit video by Canadian Art’s video intern, Brittany Shepherd.

Brittany Shepherd

Brittany Shepherd is an artist and videographer based in Toronto.