Life In Clay: Mixed Media Artist, Harold W. Miller

Wind figure by Harold W Miller

I’m a fan of Harold Miller, a contemporary sculptor, who works in mixed media with a focus on clay and ceramics. His largest works are staged on 3D surrounds that have more in common with a theatre set than a traditional frame. Heads and figures, often embellished with tin or jewellery, emerge from textural backgrounds made from clay, stone and/or beautifully stained driftwood.

These two smaller figures show Harold’s technique and storytelling ability. The figures look self-contained, but their silence is lyrical. The man above is one in a series of wind figures wearing stylised, windswept cloaks. It’s almost impossible for the viewer not to imagine the story of his life, as if the clay could have its own history.

Woman by Harold W Miller

But when I first saw Harold’s work exhibited at Chimneyville Crafts Festival, it was this lady, captured in prayer, that I admired most. Her slim frame seems vulnerable and she is rapt in her faith. Though she is made of clay, she overflows with humanity. I can’t tell you her story, but I seem to feel the strength of her heart.

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J. W. Waterhouse’s Hylas and the Nymphs: A Modern Debate

The Manchester Art Gallery recently removed what is probably their best-loved painting ‘to prompt conversation’. The story of Hylas and the Nymphs dates back to the Ancient Greeks and Romans and has come down to us in a variety of tellings which means the story can be interpreted more than one way. I like J.W. Waterhouse’s painting of the subject and was sorry to learn it had been taken from view.

Controversy was intensified by this Guardian interview with the curator Claire Gannaway which included the quote:

“We think it probably will return, yes, but hopefully contextualised quite differently. It is not just about that one painting, it is the whole context of the gallery.”

By the time my sweetheart and I called in to the gallery earlier this week, the picture had been replaced, now above a sea of post-it notes.

People looking at a Pre-Raphaelite painting with post-it messages

Continue reading “J. W. Waterhouse’s Hylas and the Nymphs: A Modern Debate”

Weekly Photo Challenge: Vibrant Street Art

Hog by Bob Wade for hopecampaign.org

I’m out of my depth here. I don’t know anything about bikes. So I’m not going to try to describe the bike bit. I’m not even going to make jokes about road hogs – after all, this one seems to be a bit of a sweetie.

Motorbike art: hog snout

The humour, the juxtapositions and the colourful reflections on the gleaming chrome made this street art irresistible so I lingered around it, trying a variety of different angles and detail shots. I love the snout and the curly tail.  Continue reading “Weekly Photo Challenge: Vibrant Street Art”

Mississippi Museum of Art: Bottle Tree Orchard

Bottle tree at dusk

Over the last few days I’ve been watching a bottle tree orchard unfurl in The Art Garden at the Mississippi Museum of Art. My picture shows one of the bottle trees as dusk was falling this evening. It has been wonderful to have the chance to see the smiles and animated expressions on the faces of the first few people to interact with it. Continue reading “Mississippi Museum of Art: Bottle Tree Orchard”

Art in the Garden: Connected

How often do we sense a connection between two people but can’t tell what it might be?

Garden Art at Doddington Hall

Most of these figures don’t seem connected at all, though they are joined at the base of this sculpture. The lady in the background is staring into space: remote, self-contained, she’s oblivious of the others around her. But the man and the woman in the foreground… now there’s the connection I thought of when I saw this week’s challenge. There’s something that intrigues me in the way their eyes seem fixed together – perhaps they don’t really want to attend to each other quite so closely as they seem compelled to?   Continue reading “Art in the Garden: Connected”