Like a cast from the mold of history, I capture the south that I remember in painted and sculptural form. I am resolved to convey a sense of place and through it, speak to and about humanity. Memories are called to mind through the vehicle of paint and color selection, for example, through the use of hues associated with the cycle of farming from plowing to planting to harvesting to drying. This natural selection reinforces the specificity of time and place. I primarily work with acrylics, ordinary house paint, pastes, and found materials from the region. My paintings are suspended on unstretched paper and my clay forms are floor sculptures with objects on raised or projected plinths. The clay forms lay both organically and visually at a midway point between sculpture and architecture. The individual works are substantial in size, exposing the act of the studio process in painting and assemblage requiring sincerity and truth.
My paintings begin with a raw and marred surface, leaving evidence of the human hand from which transparent and opaque layers are both added
and erased. Likewise, my sculptural surfaces hold traces of life and begin as individual slabs of wet earth that are imprinted and embedded, inscribed and intuitively described and left vulnerable to dry. My studio process is a constant experiment in the materiality of paint, clay and other substances as a result of palimpsest marks and images synthesizing their interpretive forms. I incorporate wax in order to preserve yet distance the content. The lack of perfect clarity is developed through layering, sanding and scraping. Erasure delays recognition and allows the memory to linger.
I invite the viewer to make a personal reading of my work. After all, to erase is to shift the meaning of the original, just as time alters one’s memory of events. In my paintings I either build up the paint close to the boundary of the unstretched substrate, keeping the image static, closed, and contained, or I trowel paint and other materials off the edge of the support, as if there is no finite parameter, no containment. Similarly, these concepts are employed in my sculptural forms as well. Through layers, erasure, edges, and imprinting I explore and materialize the nature of memory.
Born in Winston-Salem, N.C., Becky Miller grew up and experienced both the rural and the urban life of the South. Formally educated in the sciences of physiology and kinesiology at Wake Forest University, studio art elective courses began a new path of natural interest and curiosity in painting and sculptural studio practice and processes.
Becky Miller currently resides in the rural city of Pike Road, Alabama as a full time high school art educator and is a candidate for a M.F.A. in Painting at Savannah College of Art and Design in the limited residency program. She has worked as a private artist on commission for fifteen years and is currently represented by Alexander Scott in Charlotte, North Carolina. Her current body of work captures specific personal experiences of the South that are remembered in painted and sculptural form.