October 14, 2008

Nick Miller's alternative studio

I'm always interested in artists like Nick Miller who have developed unusual studio solutions. Miller's current show at the New York Studio School features paintings he made in the back of a 8' x 13' truck that he converted into mobile studio. The larger paintings, built up with small clotty agitated brushstrokes, don't translate well in jpegs, but have a remarkable physical presence that transcends the mundane images of the Irish landscape. According to curator David Cohen, "the mobile studio provides a potent metaphor of Miller’s relationship to his subject in its mix of transience and groundedness, of presence and flux." Blake Gopnik points out in the Washington Post that Miller paints more than the view. "He renders his whole act of painting it. His landscapes come edged with peculiar strips of abstract mess that it can take a while to figure out: What we're seeing is the frame of the truck's 40-inch-wide rear door, along with the slathered paint that ends up there when Miller reaches out to scrape his tools on it." Gopnik also calls Miller "the un-Morandi," but I'd have to disagree. Miller may be "out and about" in his truck, but he's equally self-isolating and intensely focused. Check out Bill Maynes's video interview with Miller. A self-taught artist, Miller, 46, is based in County Sligo in northwest Ireland, where he lives with his wife and two kids.

"Nick Miller: Truckscapes," New York Studio School Gallery, New York, NY. Through Oct. 25.

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