This week’s review is on J Matt Miller, a Seattle artist who began his daily painting blog in July of 2006. The thing that drew me to his art was its great visual texture and his use of strong dark shadows to clearly create three dimensional objects.
Miller’s daily paintings are all small with lots of ridges and bumps, and occasionally canvas that shows through the paint.
This thick texture is really good for this type of painting, not only because it creates a certain feeling or ambiance, but because visually it will hold the viewer’s gaze longer while giving the eyes a place to wander before they return to the main subject.
When painting simply, the more you can do to create pleasing and varied images the better, and texture does that.
Many of his paintings also contain bits of humor, like in this next two pieces where he personifies the subjects he depicts.
In Grape Clique he’s letting a story unfold without saying anything more than the two words in the title combined with the composition of the piece.
He does something similar in Stressed, by giving focus to the egg’s point of view. Creating more interest, whether visually or mentally is very important in art, and Miller consistently does both in his paintings.
His titles are a great example of how a well-coined phrase can add so much to art, and show why you might not want to use titles like “Untitled” or “Still Life No. 3” for your paintings.
I’d encourage you to check out his daily painting blog to see his latest paintings of Christmas ornaments. The ornaments are rather appropriate I think, both for the season and for his close-up textural style.