28 April 2009

appreciations 2: The Invitation, by Cynthia Miller

(second in a series of brief "appreciations" of less than 200 words on various figures, with, sometimes, a sample of work)

The Invitation, by Cynthia Miller (photo by Tim Fuller)

Paris, an apartment with open window, bird and world flying in, a view of the Eiffel Tower. Kinetic energy, indoor/outdoor disturbance of picture plane, color as waves of light, questioning and ecstatic.

First shown in a rare outside-of-Arizona exhibition by this Tucson artist, at the CUE Art Foundation, New York, NY, 2008. Amazing that Miller’s work is not more widely known; it’s one of the great bodies of painting I know about over the last 30 years. The provenance of this painting is obvious to those who know Pierre Bonnard’s brush work and use of color, multiple colors in one, as though color is living substance (which it is). Particularly relevant are the many Bonnard paintings with window at or near center, indoor and outdoor life, objects, and colors interpenetrating. Miller's painting, in addition, freed from ground, as objects float and interact, calls Marc Chagall's work to mind. David Jones, in a painting like Manawydan’s Glass Door, is also relevant, where the distinction between indoor and outdoor, and with it the picture plane, collapses. In this Miller painting the outer world rushes in, in the form of the bird, as exhilaration, giving the work a kinetic energy that is her own entirely, making the painting the kind of “high energy construct” that the poet Charles Olson called for in words.


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