Viewing the work of Gregory Miller is like walking through an aquarium; full of life, depth, and movement. Ceramic and glass doesn't look static, walls seem to illustrate flashes of life. Just as a magnified atom is visually similar to a galaxy, the contrasts of micro and macro are clearly evident in Miller's work. Currently exhibiting at Carneal Simmons Contemporary in Dallas, Miller has experimented with ceramic for over 30 years. More than just aesthetically striking, Miller's work allows the viewer to experience (and own) abstract concepts of nature.
What first inspired you to begin your work?
The earliest influences on my artwork come from my mom, who introduced me to art as a child. While studying art history at Oklahoma State University, I was required to have a 3D studio class, and chose ceramics.
During that semester, an exhibition of work by James Watkins was held and it fascinated me. He used raku (a technique from 16th century Japan developed for the tea ceremony) to finish fire his vessels. I wanted to try the process myself. My professor at the time was unfamiliar with the process but allowed me to use and modify a kiln to "experiment” with and I was hooked! That one semester turned into three years of study. Several years after graduation I moved to Dallas and enrolled in a continuing education class at Brookhaven College. During this time I began to develop a style and vocabulary for my work. Now, I have my own studio in West Dallas where I continue to evolve and grow as an artist.
You've been working in ceramics for over 15 years, how has your work evolved over the years?
My earliest work was focussed on single pieces. I experimented with form and various textures and glazes to accomplish the desired effect. That evolved into creating pieces of different scale within the forms I developed. From there I started to combine different forms together to create a sphere of experience, a balanced and harmonious composition.
Describe some of the processes used in this exhibition, I know each piece is made vastly different from the other.
I exclusively hand build all of my work using a variety of tools to create the shapes and textures in a range of clay bodies, from basic stoneware to fine porcelain. I have various firing techniques that I use to finish a piece. Some pieces go through as many as four firings to get the desired end result.
What were the inspirations for the pieces in this exhibition?
This exhibit has a range of inspirations. I am really intrigued by both natural and manmade forms. Photos of the heavens from the Hubble Telescope; galaxies, nebulas other planets inspired the work Churning Nebula. The undersea world inspires the various coral installations. The installation Twists and Turns was inspired by a trip I took to Florida where I encountered blocks of ancient coral stone, along with the alluvial patterns I came across walking the trails in the Trinity River bottoms.
What should viewers know before they view the exhibition?
Set aside your preconception of ceramics as an art medium. These are not "thrown bowls" installed on the wall. I want the viewer to be transported to another place or time. Find beauty in the macro and micro experience. Look at an installation as a whole but then get closer and look at the individual pieces. Get lost in the details.
How has your artistic career changed the way you view the world?
I am always looking for the next bit of inspiration, be it a color, a texture, or a composition. There are infinite possibilities and, with this medium, infinite ways to express yourself. I've been fortunate enough to get to travel to various project sites around the country to install my work. This allows me to experience a place I might not have otherwise visited.
Lastly, if viewers can take away anything from this exhibition, what would it be?
Slow down, relax and enjoy the beauty around you.
Life is too short to rush through!
For more information on Gregory Miller, click here.
To view the work at Carneal Simmons Contemporary, click here.
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