Maren Miller is gonna rock your world. No, that’s not some kind of a cheesy come-on, that is a joyful promise and in a good way. Her twisty, perception-bending objects d’art will play with your brain as you attempt to figure out what is going on. Are they representations? Presentations? If so, presentations of what? What’s the deeper meaning here?
Miller is what could be called a contemporary minimalist, using materials in the strictest and most economical sense. She adds nothing, nor does she deny anything. Quite simply, what Miller creates simply is, and it is the is-ness (if you will) that makes her pieces startling and raw, basic yet confounding.
Straightforward shapes, clear-cut lines, block color, the insinuation of a “curtain” here or there, flanked with a pulsating labyrinthine shape, evokes optical illusions, aboriginial or native patterning, and a nod toward the geometric. Half-futuristic, half-aboriginal, Miller’s work has one foot planted firmly in the world of the tech-flourish in sharp, dot-matrix squares and lines, with another foot rooted solidly in cave-paintings and rudimentary depictions of light and shadow. Miller’s objects straddle straddle the by-gone era of native art and the swiftly approaching all-computer-age, leaving us to close the gap to arrive in the present.
Miller doesn’t tell you what to think. This is where the beauty of her work exists. We don’t need an answer as to if her pieces are representations or even offer a “deeper meaning”, as we so often assign to, and expect of, art. Miller’s objects exist to exist as themselves, in their raw states of being, neither pretending to be any more than they are nor apologizing for what they are not. Miller leaves the objects to be explored with one’s own imagination, much like making tigers out of passing cloudshapes, though the real trick may be to just see the clouds as clouds and nothing more.
©W. Laurie Ewer