J E R E M I A
H M I L L E R
in Nameless Places"
January 5 - 29, 2007
Mooney Center Exhibit Hall, The College of New Rochelle
naturally and personally to my familiar environment. The
finished work is a synthesis of information that I gather from the
subject and the intuitive choices that I make during the process of
painting. Painting is more than a way to tell a story or depict a
scene. Painting is about everything. Everything includes the pigment
and brushwork and canvas as much as the subject”.
About Jeremiah Miller
native North Carolinian, Jeremiah Miller is noted for his paintings of
the Carolina and Virginia landscape. His work is distinguished for its
sensual brushwork, vibrant color harmonies and visceral textures.
His paintings of out-of-the-way places in the wild evoke a mood of
silence and solitude and tend to dissolve into abstraction.
His works have been
exhibited in more than 40 one-man shows and are represented in numerous
corporate and private collections in the United States and 11 foreign
countries. His collector’s include: the Deland Museum of Art, Deland,
FL; the South Carolina State Collection, Columbia; the Danville Museum
of Art and History, Danville, VA; the Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston,
SC; Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC; George Washington
University, Washington, DC; the University of South Carolina at Sumter;
Prudential Life Insurance Company, Newark, NJ; and IBM, Research
Triangle Park, NC, among many others.
Miller holds a BFA in
Design from the Ringling School of Art & Design in Sarasota,
Florida and a BFA & MFA in Painting from the University of North
Carolina at Greensboro.
Miller has served as
Artist-in-Residence at Blue Ridge Community College, Flat Rock, NC;
Wilkes Community College, Wilkesboro, NC; and the Kershaw Fine Art
Center, Camden, SC.
He has conducted school
residencies & community art projects throughout the Southeast.
In 2000 Miller was one
of 57 artists selected to take part in the nationwide project “Artist
& Communities/America Creates for the Millennium”. He directed the
Miller lives with his
wife, Sarah Johnson, a violinist, in the home they built themselves in
the woods of northwest North Carolina.
The following is taken from his book
in Nameless Places
....In 1980, I returned
to my native North Carolina to take a position as artist-in-residence
at a college in the mountains. During a summer break from that
residency, I went on a camping trip, and as a change of pace, carried
along my paints. At the time I considered this a temporary
respite from the model, and I would return refreshed to paint the human
figure. It turned out that this journey into the
woods provided the solution to a problem in my approach to and
philosophy of painting.
The solitude experienced
when painting these first landscapes was magically liberating.
The fact that no one else was there in the woods with me while I was
painting was a surprising relief. It was a revelation to discover that
the presence of the model had been inhibiting. What should have been
obvious to me was revealed: Solitude was essential to the
unselfconscious state so important for my creative process.
As I proceeded with
these first landscape paintings, it became important that my works
display little evidence of humans. People populated my memories and
subconsciously influenced my painting, but people depicted would only
taint the landscape and interfere, just as had the models in my studio,
with this creative process.
The woods also revealed
something unexpected. When painting the familiar landscape of my
youth, the order of time and space was suspended in a flood of illusive
memories. The landscape was my marmalade and tea, conjuring thoughts of
forgotten friends, places and moments from the past. These were not
just recollections of past experiences in the landscape, but included
memories of my artistic education and evolution. I gazed into the woods
and saw a thousand years of painting history, and was also reminded
that the landscape, as it had when I was a boy drawing in the woods,
provided the perfect retreat for an uninterrupted flow of feelings,
ideas and reflections.
My experiences during
that summer break in 1980 revealed how important the past was in the
selection and treatment of my subjects. I needed to have a history with
a place. I came to this knowledge in the hills that held the memories
of my youth and that pattern has played out in the other places where
I’ve lived and worked as an adult. Living in Florida for more than a
decade, I was never moved, beyond doing a few sketches, to paint the
landscape. Now, I frequently go there to just do that. Memories hide in
her rivers and swamps.
The paintings I did that
summer started a gradual change in my choice of subjects.
In a short period of time my
concentration shifted from the human figure to landscape, and
I’ve continued that focus for over twenty years. I still
occasionally paint pictures of my family and friends in our man-made
surroundings, but the landscape offers me an opportunity to disappear
into a sanctuary; a private place where thoughts, feelings and memories
flow uninterrupted into a passionate swirl of paint.
Having come full circle,
I again, after five decades, find myself on that log by the creek in
the woods near my house. As a child, this was a place from which I
could project my aspirations on a romantic flight to some other
location, just beyond the horizon. It’s now a place to reflect on
what’s right before my eyes.
I’ve reached the horizon.
(also from same book):
The Adventure of
When venturing into the
wild, we’ve all experienced a moment of heightened awareness.We notice
something special in our surroundings. It may be a sunset, a
quirky pattern of light, or a tapestry of textures. We might
sense a phobic closeness of the trees, detect a foreboding in the air,
or hear a sound that conjures something faintly familiar.
Whether the ability to
recognize this special moment is an instinct, a tuned combination of
the senses, or what some philosophers call an “aesthetic emotion”, I
believe everyone experiences these feelings. Most people will take note
of the moment, reflect on it, move on, and maybe share it with
friends over dinner. The painter, poet, and musician, however,
feel compelled to express this insight.
I experience these
feelings frequently, especially if I’m in a familiar area.
I’ve learned to trust these special moments. These signals never
reach the level of an epiphany. They are more like nature giving
me a hint of inside information, a subtle nudge to investigate and see
where things lead.
respond to this prod by making marks and spreading color on a flat
surface. Immediately, a new lexicon unfolds: Lines, shapes, colors, and
textures are thrown into the sensory mix of sunlight, trees, rivers,
and rocks. Add to this the memories and reflections triggered by the
landscape and the emerging ideas and feelings about the evolving
painting process, and I have the stuff of adventure.
This fluid adventure
presents new insights and challenges at every step. My desire is
to capture the spirit and energy of that acute moment of awareness of
the landscape while exploring the ideas arising from
Many of the decisions I
make during this exploration evolve out of an early interest in
abstract painting. I’m attracted to the inherent abstraction in a scene
and like to play in those magical areas on the canvas where positive
space can transform into negative space –- areas where illusion
dissolves into abstraction and content emerges from technique. I
enjoy the broad and expansive movement invited by large scale and the
manipulation of “all-over” fields of paint. I like to paint large to
create a window to the world and invite the viewer to move closer and
be confronted by the paint and the deconstruction of the image. I
celebrate the visceral and tactile qualities of paint, and I’m obsessed
by the natural movement of hand and brush. I believe an enthusiastic
use of materials should leave a distinctive recognizable signature.
Painting is more than a way to tell a story or depict a scene. Painting
is about everything. Everything includes the pigment and brushwork and
canvas as much as the subject.
Even with this deep
interest in the formal and expressive aspects of painting, my most
intense feelings as an artist are rooted in my natural surroundings.
While understanding and appreciating the aesthetics of abstraction,
admiring its purity and working to include some of the tenets into my
work, it is vital that I stay grounded in recognizable
imagery. Walking this line between realism and abstraction is
difficult, but for me it’s the natural thing to do.
When this process works,
something new and self-revealing emerges. Something honest and natural
reveals and defines that initial, compelling moment in the landscape.
Many times, some new priority arises out of the process, adds to, and
even takes precedent over the original impetus. In any event, I
intuitively celebrate my surroundings and the painting process.
This journey is always
an adventure. Its’ rewards are momentary solitude, and ever once in a
while, a little grace.
O F F I C E O
F C O M M U
N I C
A T I O N S
29 Castle Place, New Rochelle, NY 10805
© 2007 The College of New Rochelle