The Canadian artist Claire Milbrath draws on the folk art aesthetics of Maud Lewis and the post-impressionist landscapes of Henri Rousseau, but her distinctive imaginative world is tinged with her own personal sensibility, coloured by ennui and humour. While touching on themes like sexual fantasies and agoraphobia, her paintings have the charming guilelessness of childhood innocence.

Milbrath’s brightly coloured faux-naïf paintings feature recurring characters that serve as partial avatars for the artist, who uses them to process emotions from anxiety and boredom to love and passion. Self-taught, she gained recognition as part of The Ardorous, an online arts collective run by Petra Collins, eventually developing her contemporary fauvist style.

She grew up in Victoria, British Columbia, and spent many years in Montreal before returning to Victoria, where she now lives and has her studio. She was instrumental in founding the independent bi-annual art publication Editorial Magazine, based in Montreal and distributed internationally, and is the magazine’s editor-in-chief.

More than most artists, it is possible to see in Claire Mibrath’s work the autobiographical development of personal preoccupations, so that while most of the work shown here dates from the period between around 2010 and 2017, her more recent themes include domestic interiors, mundane scenes where the kitchen becomes the ultimate place of love and joy and the bathroom a personal cathedral of isolation and yearning, and a series exploring seasonal change, and how that reflects the cosmic cycle of death and rebirth, coherence and growth.

Claire Mibrath’s website can be found here, and her Instagram account here.

We are very grateful to our Russian friend Yuri for suggesting the inclusion of this artist, and for supplying most of the images.

Example illustration