Dan Miller makes magic with wood and paper in 'Across the Board'
● By Lev
By John Chambless
Dan Miller's expert hand is clear in each of the woodcuts on display at Bookplace this month. The Lancaster County artist and longtime Pennsylvania Academy instructor makes magic with wood, ink and paper in his solo show, "Across the Board."
His landscapes -- or treescapes -- are immediately appealing, with a gray-green palette that's subtle but just right. They are so detailed that you could forget how they are made -- scribe a slab of wood, then ink it and press paper onto it. You'll notice the echoes of the wood grain that stretch across the skies in "Bow Moon Over Young's Point," where the curve of the crescent moon echoes the grain; and in "The Great Dune of Corea," where the grain could be wind currents pushing the clouds along.
Miller's insect portraits are triumphs of technique, with each color produced by a different impression of paper on wood. "Tiger Beetle" has something like six colors, as does "Within."
Miller's depth of knowledge about artists and authors is shown in his large woodcuts of famous faces in places that are part of their life and art. Van Gogh is seen in a long corridor in "At The Asylum," and in a dynamic, jumping landscape dotted with bird shapes ("Crows").
From a technical standpoint, these large, finely carved and laboriously printed woodcuts are examples of the artform at its best. They also happen to be beautiful and incisive and thought-provoking.
"Across the Board" is a show that challenges you -- and the region -- with work that's first-rate, surprising, warm, and splendidly rooted in the simple materials from which it comes.
"Across the Board" continues at Bookplace (2373 Baltimore Pike, Oxford) through Nov. 1. The shop and gallery is open Friday through Sunday. Visit www.bookplaceoxford.com.
To contact Staff Writer John Chambless, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.