Harland Miller is both a writer and an artist, practising both roles over a peripatetic career in both Europe and America.
After living and exhibiting in New York, Berlin and New Orleans during the 80s and 90s, Miller achieved critical acclaim with his debut novel, ‘Slow down Arthur, Stick to Thirty’ (2000); the story of a kid who travels around northern England with a David Bowie impersonator; In the same year he published a small novella, First I was Afraid, I was Petrified, based on the true story of a female relative with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, discovered when Miller came across a box full of Polaroid images she had taken of the knobs of a cooker. In 2001 Miller produced a series of paintings based of the dust jackets of Penguin books. By combining the motif inherent in the Penguin book, Miller found a way to marry aspects of Pop Art, abstraction and figurative painting at once, with his writer’s love of text. The ensuing images are humorous, sardonic and nostalgic at the same time, while the painting style hints at the dog-eared, scuffed covers of the Penguin classics themselves. Miller continues to create work in this vein, expanding the book covers to include his own phrases, some hilarious and absurd, others with a lush melancholy. Miller was the Writer in Residence at the ICA for 2002 and over the course of his residence he programmed a number of events drawing from his experience in literature and fine art, which included a season devoted to the ongoing influence and legacy of Edgar Allen Poe.
In 2008 Miller curated a group exhibition, 'You dig the tunnel, I'll hide the soil' in homage to Edgar Allen Poe, to mark the bicentenary of his birth. Staged across two venues, White Cube Hoxton and Shoreditch Town Hall, Miller exhibited several new works including an installation in Hoxton Square that deceived many visitors. 'I Was Always Good at Finding Things I' comprises of seven forensic figures in a cordoned off area, examining it for what appears to be evidence, whether traces of a murder or something even more inexplicable, a sinister air is apparent. Instead of the word POLICE, the blue and white tape says 'THE TELL-TALE HEART', a classic short story by Poe where the assailant invites the police to search the home for his victim, laying hidden under the floorboards. In the following year Miller, turned to the police campaign mounted against the infamous 'Yorkshire Ripper' in 1978 that had been misconstrued by the hoax letters and tapes sent by John Samuel Humble a.k.a Wearside Jack from the North East. For his exhibition at the BALTIC, Miller painted a series of large billboards entitled 'The Consequence of a Failed Illusion (West Yorkshire Police Public Information Campaign)' which, over time had been ripped to reveal adverts catch-phrases and imagery amongst samples of Wearside Jack's writing or emergency number to call and listen to his voice.
Harland Miller was born in Yorkshire, UK in 1964 and lives and works in London. Solo exhibitions include BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK (2009) and Palacio Quintanar, Segovia (2015). Group exhibitions include Somerset House, London (2016); Sculpture in the Close, Jesus College, Cambridge, UK (2013); Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy of Arts, London (2005, 2006, 2007); Kunsthalle Mannheim, Germany (2004); and Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (1996). In 2008, Miller curated the group show 'You Dig The Tunnel, I’ll Hide The Soil' at White Cube and Shoreditch Town Hall, London.
31 May 2019 – 24 August 2019
White Cube Hong Kong
White Cube is pleased to present an exhibition by Harland Miller, his first in Hong Kong. Featuring new paintings, drawings and prints, it foregrounds the exploration of text, image and the language of painting within Miller’s work.
On the ground floor, a series of new large-scale paintings make reference to the layout of book covers, presenting large, overlaid letter forms using a pop-like palette. At the bottom of each, a neutral coloured band displays a ‘title’, in the form of short, enigmatic words such as ‘sin’, ‘luv’, or ‘boss’ alongside Miller’s own name as their ‘author’. In a departure from the artist’s previous and well-known series of paintings that used the recognisable covers of vintage Penguin paperbacks, here text is approached more formally, as a painterly device where the negative space, lines and curves of letters become integral to both image and composition. Through the process of isolating and overlaying various letter forms, Miller creates a sense of fractured space within the painting, a receding visual field that effectively deconstructs both the form and referent of language itself. In the work XXX (2019), the letters are built up from layers of reds, oranges and yellows, their image suggesting objects in motion, where several forms are compressed at once, kaleidoscopic and transparent, like a series of sequential, transparent slides.MORE DETAILS