Jaru language. Born c.1935. Died 2OO9.
Like many of the senior men and women at Wirrimanu (Balgo), Boxer Milner began painting in the late 198Os, following the establishment of the Warlayirti art centre. His early works were tentative experiments in form. But buried within their restrained palette and restricted formal syntax were the early signs of a matchless mastery of geometry and form. It was not until the mid-199Os, when the artist began tempering these rigid structures with high-keyed color contrasts that the singularity of his talent became unmistakable. In his mature works, Milner revealed himself to be that rare breed of artist adroit at perfectly manipulating both color and form. This balance was the evidence of a lifetime’s observation of the natural world. Milner was born around 1935 at Matwanangu, on the banks of Sturt Creek, south west of Bililuna in Western Australia. Working as a stockman, his life was defined by majestic natural cycles of this ancient country. A senior lawman, he drew his artistic and spiritual sustenance from Purkitji, a major floodplain for the Sturt. It is the ebb and flow of these life-giving waters that shape the idiosyncratic iconography of Milner’s work. In his jostling angles, or flowering ringlets, Milner offers the hieroglyphs of nature’s transformational hand. Rendered in a measured architecture of lines and dots, they are the astute record of an intimate knowledge of place. Milner’s work was included in the exhibitions Images of Power: Aboriginal Art of the Kimberly and Color Power: Aboriginal Art Post 1984 at the National Gallery of Victoria. He is represented in the National Gallery of Australia, the National Gallery of Victoria and the Art Gallery of New South Wales.