John Miller Artist Statement:
When I was a child I was inspired by graphic newspaper comic strips and Japanese prints introduced to me by my mother. I clearly remember pouring my attention into these images as though I was experiencing space for the first time. My reaction was visceral and I was aware of a sense of elation much as I felt when physically visiting inspiring places. The power of this art experience hinged on my being aware that I was conscious of pictorial space, and that my mind was decoding information. I enjoyed the fact that the process wasn’t totally passive, that there was effort involved in interpreting what I was seeing. I learned to appreciate the visual tricks and possibilities that made pictorial space so intriguing to me.
I remember being in awe of the simple graphics of the comics and prints. I loved the fact that so much information could be contained in such simple forms. I’ve tried to learn from this and to use what I’ve learned in advancing my own art. In my work, I focus on the undeveloped landscape because the visual stimuli are so vast, so complex, and organized according to natural parameters that defy an easy grasp of order. Wilderness is the original laboratory of human perception and I relish returning to this lab as a technologically advanced and cultured 21st century human being. I’m intrigued by the possibility of revealing subconscious knowledge by seeing and representing some yet undocumented organizing principal within nature that we are all subliminally responding to.
I believe that in order to clearly suggest complex pattern it is important to distill a great deal of information into a stylized form. I find that it is useful to think in terms of simple graphic models as I strive to capture qualities I sense in external reality. I observe, I think, I sketch, and I learn from my own creations as I strive for ideas that can inspire new ways of seeing and understanding nature’s patterns. My end goal is to capture qualities that reveal the nature of things rather than in simply describing surfaces. For example, I want to understand the complexities of the interaction between water and everything that shapes it. In the case of water with waves, the concept of movement displaying an inherent pattern within apparent chaos is very difficult to represent in an unedited stop-action rendering of an energized surface of water in motion. Order and chaos coexist and I’m fascinated by the visual possibilities inherent in my quest to better understand this as I observe water. I need to interpret, translate, and edit in order to demonstrate my understanding with clarity. I learn from art and through art and see things in nature in new and deeper ways because of art. My art-making is a continuous process of observation, thought, and creation as a way to better understand the teamwork of the eye and mind and the very personal nature of perception and perception of nature.