Interview on ahtcast.
Thanks to Phillip J.Mellen for including me in his delightful series of podcasts.
Click the image below for the post.
Install shot at Douglas Witmer’s new studio.
Douglas installed this and photographed it for me as a surprise. It was a very nice surprise indeed.
Green Line Cafe, Locust, Feb. 5-Mar, 27, 2013
Another opportunity provided by Douglas Witmer was giving my work a second show at the Locust Street location of the Green Line Cafe. Thank you Douglas for curating and installing this exhibit.
Java Jive at Green Line Cafe: Paintings by David T Miller, Nov. 23, 2012-Jan. 31, 2013
My current work is not about anything. It is simply a call and response practice of placing marks and color on a surface. I essentially collaborate with myself. I begin a number of pieces and set them aside on to dry. l pick one up and add some sort of embellishment and put it back down. I pick up another and do the same thing until I get to a point where I don’t feel compelled to add further embellishment. Eventually the whole group reaches a state of “completion” in my mind. I tend to view the groups as representing a month’s work of activity.
I enjoy looking at the groupings after they have been made trying to learn more about myself, my process and my practice. I’m often surprised by the habits and characteristics I see. I never intended to make so many dots and don’t think of myself as painting dots when I’m doing them. Dots, stripes, triangles, circles, saw teeth and edges are not things I intended to use and they are not things I think about as I paint, but they have become integral to my current vocabulary. I recently noticed the Oaxacan wood carvings I have in my house that I take for granted and realized the apparent influence I had overlooked.
The grid display is another accidental, but characteristic I’ve observed. That is how I arrange things that I am working on and that is how things are displayed on the gallery page of my website. Last summer I participated in the All Together Now collaboration exhibit in Bushwick organized and curated by Julie Torres. I spread my work out on the floor of the gallery in the same grid relationship I had originally organized at home. Julie didn’t edit or change a thing. She wanted the same grid on the wall. At the time I wasn’t cognizant of what was going on in my own practice. Julie inadvertently helped me learn something about myself.
The same can be said about the collaboration idea. When I participated in the group collaboration process in Bushwick I realized my personal process was identical to that outlined by Julie for the group.
So – Thanks to Julie Torres for helping me learn more about myself. Thanks to Ian White Williams and to Douglas Witmer for hanging my work. And BIG THANKS to Douglas Witmer for allowing me to show my work in his very cool space.
ALLTOGETHERNOW May 31 – June 3, 2012
I have no idea where to begin in describing this awesome experience. I was extremely fortunate to be invited by the wonderfully amazing Julie Torres to participate in this collaboration and exhibit in Brooklyn It was part of the Bushwick Open Studios extravaganza. Rather than attempting to explain and describe I will post several things. The response and coverage in the blogosphere continues to amaze me.
Coverage on blogs included:
Brian Edmonds featured participating artists on his site, Curating Contemporary
Inga Dalrymple’s Undercover Painter
Even made it to the Pacific Northwest on Joey Veltkamp’s blog, Best Of
Colab video by Stephen Wright
Frankie Norstad’s awesome documentation
No Zen Within:
The Good, The Bad & The Ugly, March 15 – May 15, 2012
I was very pleased to have had a one-person show in the Art In The Storefront Gallery in Ambler, PA. I exhibited 22 paintings. Thanks to Ian White Williams for surprising me with the card posted above. Below is the statement i posted.
I returned to my personal art practice about 3 years ago. I had periods of activity over the years but life usually had the upper hand and I wasn’t successful in keeping up with my own work. When I resumed my art making, I found myself in a completely different place. My earlier work tended to be content oriented; it was about something: politics, relationships, dance, sports, etc. I think that was a reason I was sporadic. I had lost interest in painting as personal commentary.
My current work is not about anything other than a call and response approach to placing marks and color on a surface. I have more fun and I’m far more prolific than ever before. My practice and life now exist in a comfortable relationship.
I’ve been very fortunate to have a couple very supportive friends who encourage me (as do my wonderful wife and sons). The title of this exhibit is the result of a fun and pivotal conversation from about a year and a half ago. I was showing 4 large blue canvases (which have been painted over and are included in this exhibit) to Ian White Williams and Tim Schwartz. At some point they began to respond to other things in my workspace with more interest and curiosity. Somebody said that the blue canvases simply were not me. The quote I heard was “you’ll never be Zen, you need to stay with your twang.” I had to process that for a second, but I became very excited because I realized that I had been slipping into the trap of trying to make something that represented a type of painting rather than the act of painting. I was also reminded how fragile the personal practice can be and how important it is to get feedback.
Much of my current inspiration comes from the international community of abstract painters on Facebook. I am able to look at fresh paintings that I enjoy, and I have benefited from feedback by painters I admire on an almost daily basis. It is mind-boggling to be able to work in my little basement in Ambler, PA, while participating in a global network of like-minded painters.
Faction at the University of Dayton: October 3 – 24, 2011
I was very fortunate to have been invited to participate in this project Curated by Jeffery Cortland Jones. I was not able to attend, but there were some videos which are posted below. Other artists were:
Timothy B. Buckwalter . Albany . California
Ron Buffington . Chattanooga . Tennessee
Marc Cheetham . Upper Saddle River . New Jersey
Brian Cypher . Burlington . Washington
Scott Grow . Indianapolis . Indiana
Matthew Langley . New York . New York
Daniel Levine . New York . New York
Lorri Ott . Cleveland . Ohio
Jon Poblador . Phoenix . Arizona
Danielle Riede . Indianapolis . Indiana
Don Voisine . Brooklyn . New York
Ken Weathersby . Montclair . New Jersey
Michael Willie . Normal . Illinois
Douglas Witmer . Philadelphia . Pennsylvania
R.C. Wonderly . Las Vegas . Nevada
It occurred to me that I should update this page just in case somebody other than me might happen to read it.
I started this blog after the urging of Ian White Williams. I think his exact words were, “dude you need to put your work on a web page.” I had experienced a long period of inactivity regarding my own art making and, as a high school art teacher it was far easier for me to give advice than to follow it. I suppose I was simply afraid of failure and of not being a real artist, whatever that is. Sounds silly, but looking back I know it to be true. If one of my students said that I would tell them how ridiculous that sounded and repeat my Beuys/Warhol mantra that everybody is an artist and everything is art if you want it to be. I would tell them to get over themselves and to just make more stuff. It was good to have Ian point out my contradictory behavior.
When I began making things again I became better at working with the unknown and the unexpected. I totally embraced the non-objective and lost any interest in making anything that looked like something. I also made an agreement with myself (and Ian) that I would just make things and post them regardless of how they turned out. “Quality” is something I strive to push from my mind. I don’t want to worry about good, bad, being confident or insecure. I just want to make things. I like the act of making and try not to get too caught up by the resulting artifact. By posting the artifacts I put them into a public realm and I have to live with it for better or worse. I think this has been good for me.
I gained momentum when I would occasionally receive feedback from other artists I didn’t know, but whose work I admired. Vincent Hawkins was one of the first people to comment on what I was doing. So then I had Ian and Vincent and that made me want to make more stuff. I began to obsessively follow blogs and websites of artists I admire and realized I enjoyed looking at their work as much or more than the older, established artists in books and museums. When I finally discovered the community of artists I like on Facebook all hell broke loose. I had so much more to look at and to have favorable feedback from people in the global community blew my mind and encouraged me further. I also had to step back and realize the danger of working for acceptance or compliments.
I have no doubt that my work appears scattered and lacking in focus. I couldn’t begin to identify any quality that might be unique to me. I try not to think about it and simply make more work. I love working in the vein of color field, but I also love scraping, staining, scumbling and rubbing with my fingers. I love heavy texture, but I swoon over a thin wash or vague pencil mark as well. I could make black works for the rest of my life and often think I should, but then I wipe or spill some color onto something and I find myself going there instead. I usually make things small enough to scan because I’m a lousy photographer so I can’t share my larger pieces.
I didn’t realize for a while that I was working in an approach that was series oriented. It occurred to me that I was making 10 of these and 10 of those. Then I would return to something I liked and make 10 more in that direction. I’m very influenced by my time working at the Kansas City Art Institute when I became impressed by Ken Ferguson telling a potter to “throw 200 hundred tea bowls and then we’ll talk”. I don’t make 200, but I’ll make 10 or 20 things and then look at them. I then quickly post them to my blog and move on before I think too much about what I did or didn’t do.
I said more than I intended to say, but I might not have said anything at all.
I am a father, husband, high school art teacher and an artist living and working in Ambler, PA. I am always learning how to be those four things in a whirlwind of shifting priorities.
This blog represents a significant shift in my direction as an artist. At some point my art making ceased to be about and/or of something. Now it is a habit of mind, body and spirit. That is all. I think I might have accumulated enough life experience to begin to understand what that means, maybe not. I really enjoy not knowing. Questions are far more inspiring than answers.
My influences are many, but they have shifted from art work to work habits in many ways. I am indebted to my family and my students. I will be forever grateful to my colleague and friend, Ian Williams, for support unlike that I’ve ever before experienced.