Thursday, August 2, 2007

J Matt Miller: Apple #3

Miller understands color: within a very simple palette framework of three major color areas, he generates both tension and relief, through complementary and opposing hues respectively. The red of the apple is countered by the blue of the wall, which includes sprinkles of the said red in what becomes a trademark of the painter's style. This blending, as I already mentioned, endows the background with dynamics, and eventually an active role in the composition.

Choosing a round object also brings Miller's style to a sort of a logical conclusion. His minimalism eventually devolves into a geometrical simplification, or abstracting of style -- perhaps a sublimation of sorts. The apple itself serves only as a vehicle for that kind of understanding and interpretation. It is not coincidental that schematically this piece resembles a Malevich, containing wide plains of color and reference to geometrical forms.

Thick brush strokes on the wall occasionally develop into impasto, as in Head Lock, for instance.
The zoom on the apple is so close, the edges appear smudged. If I am not mistaken, in the past, such distortions were the result of using a camera obscura. Perhaps Miller uses a different instrument, or simply pays tribute to the earlier practice. This painting has a fundamental appeal: utilizing bright contrasting colors, and a primeval theme (apple implies the original sin), it is an effective decorative piece.

*This article has been re-edited.

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