Recalcitrant Mimesis

Works by Biz Miller

In celebration of the Clyfford Still Museum opening, David B. Smith Gallery in partnership with the museum proudly presents a unique, site specific installation of works by Liz Miller. The exhibition, Recalcitrant Mimesis, uses Still’s erratic brushstrokes as a starting point. From there Miller uses a variety of materials — paper, felt, foam, and other tactile materials to literally bring Still’s brushstrokes to life. Using Still’s work solely as a departure point allows her work to inhibit sculptural space and create its own dynamic narrative.

While Still’s forms and colors are vaguely present, Miller’s two and three dimensional forms engulf the viewer in a frenzy of bright colors and unpredictable shapes. The aggressive and enveloping energy of Recalcitrant Mimesis speaks to Abstract Expressionism. Miller’s installations draw inspiration from a variety of historical and contemporary sources — using shapes and symbols to create sculptural surroundings. Miller explains, “Existing forms from a multitude of sources are co-opted, altered, and spliced to adopt hybrid identities. Through the process of appropriation and subsequent recombination, shapes lose their real-world connotations and take on fictitious roles. Forged relationships between benign and malignant forms confuse the original implications of each while revealing the precariousness of perception and how easily it can be tampered with.”

Recalcitrant — an obstinately uncooperative attitude toward authority and mimesis — mimicry or imitation communicates and represents both Still’s work and Miller’s use of Still’s work as a departure point for her own installations.

Liz Miller lives in Southern Minnesota and teaches drawing at Minnesota State University, Mankato. She earned her BFA from Rhode Island School of Design and her MFA from the University of Minnesota. Recently the Joan Mitchell Foundation announced Miller was one of twenty-five recipients of the 2011 Painters and Sculptors Grant Program. In addition, Miller was one of four recipients of the McKnight Artist Fellowships and previously received a Jerome Foundation Fellowship and two Artist Initiative Grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board.

The exhibition, Recalcitrant Mimesis, opens on Friday, January 20th with an artist talk with Liz Miller from 6-7 pm, followed by an opening reception from 7-9 pm. During Miller’s lecture she will discuss Recalcitrant Mimesis, as well as her previous installations and take questions from the audience. Miller’s installation will be on display at David B. Smith Gallery through February 20th. For more information visit the gallery’s website.

Words by Kelsey MacArthur. Images courtesy of David B. Smith Gallery.