Lorna Mills: Animated Mosaic Collages & the Art of GIF

Lorna Mills is a Canadian visual artist who has actively been creating and exhibiting her work internationally since the early 1990’s: in analog with Super 8 film, video, painting, and photography, before going fully digital in 1993 and working with GIFs since 2003. Ever since, Lorna has been both the sculptor and the clay navigating the Internet’s dynamic currents.

Lorna Mill ‘s Signature Style and Process

Lorna Mill ‘s aesthetics are predominantly rooted in Internet culture, a medium through which she creates animated mosaic GIF collages characterized by jagged, silhouetted edges — traits that have become her signature style evident in iconic works like “Fence Me Not”. Decontextualizing subjects, altering them, and recombining them within a new composition is a complex technical endeavor involving extensive online sourcing beforehand, often making it difficult to trace back to the original source as evident in works like “Bossinova”. 

Digital Dialectics: Lorna Mills ‘ Critical Exploration of Online Art Culture

The removal of the background from her compositions further emphasizes the qualities of Lorna Mill ’s work, where content, movement, and edges all coalesce into a new, reimagined space and surface. The pixelated texture of her work is enhanced by the rhythm of the imperfect loop, a technique she employs in pieces such as “Handyman Bill”. This imperfect loop, rather than a linear narrative, guides the subjective meaning of every piece, creating a compelling sense of chaos and urgency. This is particularly noticeable in her animated GIFs like “Wonderful Mom Sons”.

Circulating her work online is an essential component of her participation in the culture of online art and the guiding principle for all her future works involving online consumption. This digital era has created new forms of social interaction through computable data, changing the conditions of sociability — where just like art, new technologies have become a prosthesis, an extension of our humanity, and a tool to become critically self-aware. Through her work, what transpires is a deep understanding of the current digital landscape and its possibilities, as well as a critical and reflective stance on its inherent challenges and limitations. 

The Embodiment of the Digital Flux

Lorna Mills emerges not just as an artist, but as an orchestrator of an intricate symphony of pixels and loops with a body of work that serves as a powerful critique and celebration of the digital era, and a mirror reflecting our collective online experiences, behaviors, and transformations.

While navigating and manipulating the vast ocean of digital data, Lorna constructs her very own digital universe — a cosmos formed from decontextualized, recombined fragments of images, swirling in their imperfect loops, examining and challenging the notions of originality, ownership, and cultural appropriation within the digital realm.

In turn, we are left to question, reflect, and marvel at the flux of the digital landscape and our place within it, one work of art at a time.

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