John S. Miller/ Thoughts and Ideas / Waterworks

  • Reflections on Water Reflections on Water,15.5" X 21.15", One Color screen Print, 2015
  • Near Shore 2, 4 color screen print, 21.5" X 16.25", 2014 Near Shore II, 4 color screen print, 21.5" X 16.25", 2014
  • Near Shore, 4 color screen print, 21.5" X 16.25", 2014 Near Shore, 4 color screen print, 21.5" X 16.25", 2014
  • Slanted, 4 color screen print, 21.5" X 16.25", 2014 Slanted, 4 color screen print, 21.5" X 16.25", 2014
  • Across the Cove, 4 color screen print, 21.5" X 16.25", 2014 Across the Cove, 4 color screen print, 21.5" X 16.25", 2014
  • Bird Forms, 4 color screen print, 21.5" X 16.25", 2014 Bird Forms, 4 color screen print, 21.5" X 16.25", 2014
  • Ripples, 4 color screen print, 21.5" X 16.25", 2014 Ripples, 4 color screen print, 21.5" X 16.25", 2014
  • Sketchbook, Isle Royale Artist in Residency Sketchbook, Isle Royale Artist in Residency
  • Sketchbook, Isle Royale Artist in Residency Sketchbook, Isle Royale Artist in Residency
  • Sketchbook, Isle Royale Artist in Residency Sketchbook, Isle Royale Artist in Residency
  • Ripples, Two color screen print, 7" X 9", 2014 Ripples, Two color screen print, 7" X 9", 2014
  • Fractured, Two color screen print, 7" X 9", 2014 Fractured, Two color screen print, 7" X 9", 2014
  • The Rushes The Rushes, 12" X 12", 5 color Screen Print, 2015
  • Mendota Breaker Mendota Breaker, 15" X 15" , 5 Color Screen Print, 2015
  • Down River from Ferry Bluff Down River from Ferry Bluff, 22" X 32.5", Digital Print, 2014
  • Magic in the Dells Magic in the Dells, 15" X 15", Digital Print, 2014
     

My art is the result of my efforts to understand the world I move through. I can’t help but look around, ponder, and question, and try to understand what I’m seeing. As I question I seek answers through art in part because I learn so much as a result of trying to rebuild the things I see through the language of art. Making art is a way of thinking for me.

Art is essentially reductive. The artistic process is partly editing but it’s also the result of unique human limitations and these limitations often translate into style. In the process of reducing complex information to simpler forms, I often feel that I can reveal essential truths, express them, and understand them better. For me, art is a language and the basic letter forms are lines and shapes and color. The toolset is limited but the creative and expressive possibilities for visual language are vast.

My Waterworks are my effort to read water and derive my own visual language for suggesting and describing the surface of large water vessels like lakes and oceans and rivers. As a paddler, I have spent countless hours reading water and at times my life has depended on my understanding. The water surface tells us about the wind, the light, the color of the depths, and the nature of the vessel. The surface of water is the interface with everything it touches and everything that touches it.

I've been fascinated by water since early childhood. This began with my first trips to Lake Superior visiting my grandparents in Ironwood Michigan. We'd go out to Little Girl's Point to picnic or camp and to swim and play on the pebble beach. I have many memories from that introduction to big water and these include staring for hours out over the immense cold clear expanse watching waves, mesmerized by the ever changing surface.

The series of images I show here began during my artist in residency on Isle Royale National Park. I was obsessed with understanding water and realized as I observed and sketched that a short hand record was my best way to capture the energy, motion and surface dynamics. I began developing a graphic format for representing water, a visual vocabulary.

We're approximately 65% water give or take a small percentage. We don't simply store water however, we aren't containers in that sense. Water has to flow through us so we have an upstream and a downstream side. You can think of us as moveable pools connected to our local watershed. Life on this planet as we know it depends upon water in much the same way and all life is connected as part of a larger river of life.

As a paddler my ability to read water has been both critical to my survival and opened up amazing opportunities for play. Water informs through the shapes that become visible upon the activated surface. In this project I focus on both the esthetics and meaning revealed by water. When one understands a subject, all affects are also information. My art is driven by my quest to better understand this world.