The digital express

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On days when I seem tethered to cyberspace and think I’m never going to make it to the real world, I deem myself lucky to get an email or two that shows me something I want to know more about.

So it was a few days ago, when an email came in from local artist Nancy Bea Miller, who sweetly wondered if we could run a link to her blog. I’ll get to that later, because first I’d like to run a link to her website.

Here’s a sampling of what she had to show there, a world mostly of still lifes–some with toys, some with children, plus a somewhat sugary take on traditional foods and vessels.

There’s a casualness to the way the objects are set up across her canvases, a sense of household clutter caught on the sly, rolling off the edges, bumping into one another like unruly kids continually on the verge of disaster.

I get the sense she’s looked at a lot of Morandis (shown right), but then decided that dark compression of desolate, peculiar objects was not her cup of tea.

Instead, she’s chosen the quotidian, and then brought to it an intensity–a mix of carefully chosen colors and children’s-world objects on the run, on the verge of growing up. The toys in that still life context have a weirdness that pushes them into the world of metaphor, little people with their odd ways and tender feelings.

This past year, she’s received a number of awards according to her resume, including an Independence Foundation Fellowship in the Arts and the Valerie Lamb Smith Residency (a Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts alumni award).

I pass on her blog link, but it’s not her best work–a little undigested and haphazard, and, as she wrote in her email, full of “the unrelenting domesticity (I have 3

young boys) which fuels my art.” But it serves as a reminder that while her still life arrangements may suggest the haphazard, they are anything but.

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