At a young age he began studying art at the Wadsworth Athenaeum
Museum in Hartford, Connecticut, and received an art scholarship to Syracuse
University. He attended the Boston Museum School of Art and obtained a grant
to study painting in Holland at Rijks Academy, at the famed the Rijksmuseum in the Netherlands. It was there that he
became acquainted with the 15th century techniques of preparing gesso panels,
egg tempera mediums, and guilding with gold leaf.
After two years in Amsterdam, spent studying
and copying the works of theOld Master painters, Milek returned to New
York City- during the 1960's, a time when abstract art was at its peak
and most artists were painting in imitation of the New York School.
Influenced by these trends, he painted in oils in the expressionist
style, but unfulfilled, he returned to nature for his inspiration and
themes. It was at that point in his career that he chose egg tempera as
his medium and moved to northern New England to paint his passion.
Milek taught drawing and painting at Dartmouth College, in Hanover, New Hampshire, for seventeen years before retiring to paint
full time from his studio in Windsor, Vermont.
Unlike many of today's
artists, Milek does not rely on photographs, preferring instead to work from
sketches. He takes his drawing materials into the field, be it to their extensive
flower and herb gardens at Cider Hill Gardens, or
the old apple orchard on their property, surrounded by gnarled trees and dense
woods, or to the pastoral landscapes that distinguish his work. He then paints
watercolors based on the sketches, which are sometimes finished paintings in
themselves. These "notes in watercolor", as he terms them, are the basis for
later egg tempera paintings.
Gary Milek has lived his commitment, becoming a family supporting artist, and earning the respect of artists and collectors
nationwide for his intimate and detailed landscapes in egg tempera, including the use of gold leaf, and watercolors of flowers.
His work has been exhibited throughout New England, in New York City, Rhode Island, Washington D.C. and California-at such
prestigious galleries as the National Academy of Design and Wunderlich & Company in NYC, the Copley Society of Boston,
Dartmouth College in Hanover and Saint-Gaudens in Cornish, New Hampshire.
In the words of one of his collectors, American artist George Tooker, "Milek paints with a quiet and compelling lyricism.
The work hangs harmoniously because of the talent, the depth of feeling, and the sincerity of the artist."
"Gary Milek's Vermont is both real and imagined, a wonderous place where the landforms intersect the divine." — Robert McGrath
Professor Art History, Emeritus, Dartmouth College