Henrietta Hoyer Millar paints landscapes that are familiar to her, often from childhood, and this understanding gives rise to a great sensitivity to the topography, the fluctuating weather and the play of light that she observes. Alongside the curiosity and urgency to record, one senses an affection and delight that is reminiscent of Constable’s paintings of his father’s garden or of Palmer embedded in the fields and orchards of Shoreham. Like these great painters of English Landscape, Hoyer Millar delights in the familiar growing strange and marvellous.
With a playful approach to technique, the paint is applied thickly and thinly, smudged, scratched and wiped. This attitude, open to accident, and based upon the interaction of layers of paint and glaze, corresponds to the unpredictable effects of nature itself. Hoyer Millar paints in oil on gessoed panels; despite this being an unusual choice of support in contemporary art, the wood gives nature a further part to play in the works – its grain is noticeable under the paint and where it has been scraped off.
A hillside glinting after a shower with the clouds overhead still lowering; a tree illuminated in a clearing; ploughed furrows highlighted by the emerging green shoots of a new crop – Hoyer Millar captures the transient drama of the landscape with a light touch. These paintings contain a simple enjoyment of looking at, and existing in, the natural landscape.