Dan Miller's 'Small Worlds' to explore at Bookplace
● By J. Chambless
'Reaching Out' by Dan Miller.
By John Chambless
Known for his woodcut prints,
Pennsylvania artist Dan Miller takes a left turn with his solo show
of wooden sculptures at Bookplace in Oxford.
Each one is a dazzlingly complicated symphony of shapes. Each piece is cut by Miller and assembled – sometimes over months of careful thought – into objects that look both antique and modern, suggesting (among other things) city streets, little landscapes, people, architecture and puzzling machines whose purpose has been lost in time. The pastel-hued paint that's thoughtfully applied to some pieces accents aspects of the composition without being showy.
Viewers are encouraged to respond the these artworks however they want, Miller said. If you see a clock where someone else sees a landscape, so be it. Miller is clearly having fun crafting these sometimes inscrutable objects, and the titles sometimes give only a suggestion.
“Red Music” does recall a zither from some alien world, “Samurai” only appears to have a sword once you learn the title, and “One Wheel” looks like a clock with a pendulum until the title suggests something else.
“Reaching Out” has tendrils stretching past the edge of the work, and “Harp” comes clear with the benefit of the title. The vertical series “Narrative,” though, is a story without words that explores the shifting relationships between the pieces in the sequence. “Crescent” is capped with a moon shape on a pillar-like pedestal. “Crucifixion” is a powerful little composition with dangling limbs and edges studded with nails, and it packs an emotional punch.
Boundlessly inventive, these sometimes exuberant and sometimes somber assemblages reflect a boundless imagination – and patience – as they spark a similar wonder in the viewer. Miller is clearly having fun crafting and assembling each inch of these fascinating objects, and you will be intrigued as you try to decipher them yourself.
“Small Worlds,” works by Dan Miller, will continue at Bookplace (2373 Baltimore Pike, Oxford) through July 15. The gallery/bookshop is open Fridays through Sundays. Call 717-715-4775 or visit www.bookplaceoxford.com.
To contact Staff Writer John
Chambless, email firstname.lastname@example.org.