The Wick - The Future, You Might Not Like it Now... But You Will, Harland Miller, 2017

Discover Harland Miller

Harland Miller is celebrated for his investigations into the relationship between text, form and colour. He rose to prominence in the late 1990s with his Penguin series — the book’s fictitious titles were described as ‘wittily deadpan’ by the acclaimed novelist Michael Bracewell — and has continued on an upward trajectory since.

In 2017 he created a new series of paintings inspired by his archive of psychology and science books from the 1960s and ‘70s. The Future, You Might Not Like It Now But You Will features a three-dimensional graphic against a faded background. Like the design, the title can be read in myriad ways. What does it mean to you?
The Wick - Lilicoptère, Joana Vasconcelos, 2012

Discover Joana Vasconcelos

Think of the Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos and that tampon chandelier springs to mind. But she has created other dazzling works too, among them Lilicoptère, a gilded helicopter embellished with thousands of rhinestones and pink ostrich feathers. Exhibited at the Palace of Versailles in 2012, it recalls the opulent — dare we say outlandish — aesthetic of the Ancien Régime.

Unsurprisingly, the artist’s flamboyant, large-scale sculptures made out of everyday objects such as telephones and saucepans have scored her global recognition and solo exhibitions across Europe. When guidelines allow, she’ll unveil her new Wedding Cake installation at Waddesdon Manor. Watch this space.
The Wick - Combing the Hair (Côte d'Azur), Cecily Brown, 2013

Discover Cecily Brown

In the early 1990s conceptual art was at the height of fashion in London. Ignoring the prevailing taste, Brown instead painted sensual — erotic — subject matter, fragmenting the human body in unsettling ways. But she regards her practice as distinctly feminist. ‘I’ve always wondered, what is so masculine about abstraction? How did men get the ownership of this?’

Combing the Hair depicts a sunny beach in the south of France: scantily-clad bodies, fragmented genitalia, the titular comb swirl in blurs of visceral pinks and reds. It is a celebration of unadulterated carnality.
The Wick - The Words Beneath Words, Idris Khan, 2019

Discover Idris Khan

Idris Khan creates sculpture, painting and photography that investigates memory, ritual and the layering of experience. He shot to fame in 2004 after he scanned every page of the Qur’an, then digitally layered the images.

Repetition is key to Khan’s meditative process. To make this striking work Khan stamped dense layers of text onto a glass pane using woodblocks coated with oil-based ink.

Superimposed on one other, the words become illegible. Their semantic meaning is lost. But in the process new truths are revealed: text becomes image. Open to interpretation, engages your close and questioning attention.
The Wick - Frida Kahlo, Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird, 1940

Discover Frida Kahlo

‘I paint myself,’ Kahlo once said, ‘because I am so often alone, because I am the person I know best.’ Of her 143 surviving paintings, 55 are self-portraits. Many of these speak of her physical and emotional suffering, the fragility of the human body, life and death.

Painted in 1940, this small but arresting painting shows Kahlo’s pain: her skin bleeds from the thorn necklace, her expression is solemn, the hummingbird is black and lifeless.

By employing symbolism and iconography from indigenous Mexican culture, Kahlo pioneered a new language of loss and pain and reframed self-portraiture for good.
The Wick - Willow Strip, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, 2017

Discover Lynette Yiadom-Boakye

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye has devoted her career to painting fictional black characters, explaining that they are ‘composites constructed from found images, life drawings and my imagination.’ They are painted in a muted palette of blacks, browns and greys, with the occasional flash of brightness, and seem to exist outside of a specific time and place.

But each has a story to tell. ‘Yiadom-Boakye’s figures push themselves into the imagination, as literary characters do,’ Zadie Smith wrote in 2017.

In Willow Strip, two women in emerald green dresses dance, their right arms interlaced. They gaze at each other admiringly: why are they celebrating? Yiadom-Boakye leaves us to decide.