Eric Miller (b. 1971) has been in more than 40 exhibitions, including a 2011 solo exhibition at Hunter College Project Space in New York City. His work has been in group shows in a dozen states, including at the Montgomery (Ala.) Museum of Fine Art; the Mobile (Ala.) Museum of Art; the Burroughs and Chapin Art Museum in Myrtle Beach, S.C.; the Spartanburg (S.C.) Museum of Art; the Tyler School of Art and Crane Arts in Philadelphia, Pa.; Nicole Villeneuve Gallery in Chicago, Ill.; the Roswell (Ga.) Visual Arts Center; Baltimore (Md.) Clayworks; and Blue Line Gallery in San Francisco. Miller first made a name at the University of South Carolina as an undergraduate active in the local, Columbia art scene with exhibitions, installations and curatorial work; his 2003 BFA thesis exhibition caused a run on his ceramic sculptures. In 2005, he earned an MFA from Temple University’s Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, where he also worked as a studio manager and taught. Miller, who was born in Detroit, Mich., but spent his teens in South Carolina and Pennsylvania, since 2013 teaches at a private school near Augusta, Ga.
SPLICING ERIC MILLER (’s end of an interview)
By Wim Roefs
“The Technology of Bricks is a narrative that relies on surrealist bends, purist goals, and thoughts visualized / The goals are to produce work that finds a way to reference 20th century art and culture in general / Work here is the culmination of life experiences. Daily life is the subject, but included is a nod towards intellectual heritage / American and Southern. Being from Detroit, having lived most of my life in the south, but with 12 years in Philly, I definitely want to play the American Art card / Saying intellectual heritage is recognizing what I consider the brilliance of the musicians, artists, and writers that have influenced me / My biggest influences, artistically speaking, are Duchamp and the Dadaists, Martin Puryear, Tom Sachs and Richard Hamilton (POP Art in general). I’m also a huge fan of Dieter Rams. Much of the color pallet has strong Sachs and Rams influence with the Rams “iPod” piece included in the show. Sachs’ approach to sculpture, his use of materials and his humor really is what got this body of work going / Work is produced with an American pop art sensibility that feeds off / cultural influence, while also infusing historical references to post-industrial Americana / Cultural influences are the literature, music, tv, video games, drugs / Historical references are the sculptures themselves, mostly vintage technology, that remind me of my life, friends, experiences, time periods, events, etc. / Here are examples: My record player time and place: My best friend’s dining room on Lincoln Street where we smoked weed, drank, and produced music which often ended up being long listening sessions. My record player time and place: After a series of bad roommates and living situations while at USC, I moved into a duplex on Church street in Olympia to live alone. I could only afford it because I got half my meals at the restaurants I worked at and lived off / Dr. Bronners, beans and rice for long stretches. But that is one of my most productive artistic periods and a time when my record collection really took off. I was living there when I first got the job at Papa Jazz / The reel-to-reel time and place: Between the ages of 10 and 16 my mother was with a man who had a son (Russ) of the same age. Russ and I spent all of our time building VW’s and teaching ourselves how to mix and splice music on an Akai reel-to-reel. This is where the music obsession really began / I think art should reference time and place. When you look through pre-modern art history, you can know things that happened at specific time periods based on the artwork of the time. It’s something I think much post-modern art has left out, or they’ve abstracted it beyond layman recognition. I want someone 100 years from now to see a piece and have some sense of popular culture from a 50-year window (43 years of which I have lived so far) / In simplest terms, the work is autobiographical. But I don’t want to say that, because I want it to be universal enough that people will want to engage it and make it their own / I hope they make similar connections. I hope they either had these objects, or their parents and friends had them. I want the work to spark some sort of a personal memory or connect to a personal interest / When I began the work, there was definitely a focus on my own age cohort. I knew anyone over 30 should be able to relate. However, what I’ve experienced when showing the work is that the under 30 crowd has gravitated to the work the most. My students and those their age seem to get it most. I think my age cohort tends to still avoid work that is so literal / The Technology of Bricks illustrates cultural heritage. It’s a reference to time and place. It’s Americana.”
– Wim Roefs is the owner of if ART Gallery August 2014