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Rob Miller’s practice concerns the elusive status of objects and thingness through an indexical link to the dual conditioning agents of making and materiality. His work has slipped between video, photography, installation and sculpture - originating from restlessness with the world that defines over 20 years of making [mistakes].
Intrinsically a ⊣ maker ⊢ involving sand-casting, pattern making, and an appropriation of the status of lead with its alchemical & arcane associations. The frustrations of using an iterative process that fails more often than it succeeds further draws down on this alchemical association, and serves to question the status of each and every object within a given series. The speed at which new lead tarnishes to a dull, ubiquitous and light-consuming grey is perhaps a suitable metaphor for the [ultimate] fallacy of our endeavours. Leads weight and neurological toxicity conflicts with its supreme malleability and stoic resistance to environmental decay – which are all so beautifully antithetical.
The grey-everyday seduces through conformity and standardization. Our malleability through habit, ritual and tradition confirms that we are simply pattern processing machines, born out of pattern and destined to live out our lives as pattern. Familiarity and pattern give meaning to life, cushioning our inherent time-dependency and allowing us to deal with the “urgency of life”. We expect repeatability and consume consistency. Confirmation through repeatability qualifies our endeavours – pattern is control and safety; it is titanic, ubiquitous and blind. Pattern gives continuity without consideration – it simply is.
The work originates from an interest in repetition, the reiteration of the same and its relationship to our temporality. We habitually repeat, and are involved in many forms of ritual that suggest a motivation intrinsically bound to repetition, and yet ‘there is something about the nature of repetition to unmake the very identity it seeks to confirm’. If repetition is played out too long it becomes a narrative within itself, operating somewhere between boredom and engagement.
The process of sand casting which dates back at least 3000 years B.C., and the use of lead with its base metal, alchemical associations have become a primary material concern. The frustrations of using an iterative process that fails more often than it succeeds, further draws down on this alchemical association. The speed at which new lead tarnishes to a dull, ubiquitous and light-consuming grey is perhaps a suitable metaphor for the [ultimate] fallacy of our endeavours. Leads weight and neurological toxicity; its supreme malleability and softness as set against its stoic resistance to environmental conditions are all so beautifully antithetical – a material if ever created to suit the human condition.
Research Interests /
Recent research focuses on the status of the object, and experiences that condition our understanding of objecthood and objectness. More elusive perhaps is the status of thingness, especially in relationship to the dual conditioning agents of making and materiality. Corresponding questions arise as to the condition of an object that catastrophically fails to elucidate "a sense of presence" through labored material excess? What then is the relationship between this need for extreme (self) authorship and the actual act of making? Can this activity be explained as incidental manifestations of a biological imperative that we have been reimaging and relabeling throughout human history? Alongside this we have constantly re-positioned and re-imaged the shaman - their objects of power, their language and their presence in society.
Having gained a Sculpture Degree from the Wimbledon School of Art in 1993, followed by an MA in Graphic Media at UAL in 2007, my work has slipped between video, photography, installation and sculpture. As an artist [http://robmiller.org] my modus operandi has always been making is thinking (visual art as a first order practice) which recognises the experiential creative process in which materials and processes mediate between thoughts, ideas and possibilities.
1993 - BA (HONS) Fine Art: Sculpture (Wimbledon School of Art)
2004 - PGCE Certificate in Post-Compulsory Education and Training
2007 - MA Fine Art: Graphic Media (Wimbledon College of Art) University of the Arts, London
Selected recent /
2013 - London Calling, Shoreditch, Factory-Art, Berlin [Catalogue published]
2013 - Open West 2013, Newark Park and Cheltenham Art Gallery + Museum [Catalogue published]
2013 - The London Group Centenary, [Catalogue published]
2013 - Aesthetica Art Prize 2013 (long listed), Aesthetica Magazine, York [Anthology Catalogue published]
2012 - Time Will Come, part of 2012 Project Berlin, Factory-Art, Berlin [Catalogue published]
2012 - Solo Award 2012, WW Gallery, London [Catalogue published]
2012 - Mostyn Open 2011, Mostyn Oriel Gallery.
2011 - Afternoon Tea, WW Gallery, part of the UK at the 54th Venice Biennale, Venice [Catalogue published]
2011 - Selected for Parallax AF, London.
2011 - Art Star Supermarket, London Art Fair, WW Gallery, London.
2011 - In Time, Blue Print, UAL, High Holborn, London.
2010 - Time, WW Gallery, London.
2009 - The London Group Open, Part 2, Menier Gallery, London.
Professional Experience /
Work - Programme Leader, Ba(Hons) in Art & Design / FdA in Art & Design
2013 - Re-approval of the Ba (Hons) Art & Design provision, (RAF framework) Kingston University
2012 - Re-approval of the Fda in Art & Design provision (RAF framework) Kingston University.
2012 - Validation (with commendations) of the BA (Hons) Art & Design top-up provision, Kingston University.
2011 - Appointed External Examiner, FDA Contemporary Creative Practice, Cornwall College.
2011 - External Academic on FDA Contemporary, Cornwall College Creative Practice validation panel.
2011 - Subject specialist teaching mentor, (PGCE candidate) Kingston College.