2020 BFA THESIS SHOW
BOSTON UNIVERSITY
COLLEGE OF FINE ARTS


























 




NINA MILLER

ninamillerart.com
@ninamillart
Thesis Book

My work involves experimenting with combinations of discarded materials and fabricated form. Materials that I find on the street and natural, strange found objects particularly interest me. In my practice I often experiment with combinations of discarded materials and fabricated form. By using color and surface treatment on these collected forms, I create compositions focused on memory, nostalgia, and childhood.

I work across several mediums such as painting, drawing, printmaking, and photography. The marks and colors applied to forms and canvas are both considered and intuitive. This approach accommodates my curiosity through mark making, and results in unexpected moments that further inspire the work. These unexpected moments allow different mediums to interact, overlap, and blend.

This discovery of surprising juxtapositions led to my most recent small-scale work, which involves the idea of collection. While researching childhood memorabilia, I came upon photo documentation of objects found in preschoolers’ pockets. I was struck how typical silly objects could be arranged in such a sweet, subtle and highly elevated way, that made me really look at a piece of string or sticker. From that new direction, I started examining the preciousness of ordinary, irrelevant, and mundane objects. I find that by taking these diverse forms away from their points of origin and putting them into a new context allows me to explore unexpected moments of synchronicity inside small worlds.

some extra words

Being an artist means adapting to change. Our lives have changed immensely due to COVID-19. The world has changed and it will be very different moving forward. On March 15th, I went to my studio and had to make a quick decision of what materials, projects, and objects were important enough to be taken home to continue working with in these new circumstances. All alone, I grabbed what I could hold on to. I looked around my beloved studio and took my paints, pastels, graphite, oil sticks, sketchbooks, brushes and any canvas I had lying around. I took the one wooden shelf I was able to build in the woodshop along with small debris/ collected forms in a bucket. I said goodbye to my large seesaw I had been so proud to have made , as well as my large paintings on wood. Mostly everything in my studio was large in scale. I left my foam objects, a wooden ladder/jungle gym structure I had built, and so many other things. I took the necessities. Had I known that was the last time I would spend in my studio, I would have looked around longer. I would have taken in the four years in that building and said “thank you” to the space.

Those days are long gone now. The routine is over and we have been shifted to a virtual platform, with everyone all alone in their bubble of a world. We are alone together. Separated but trying to stay together, we all sit with the uncertainty of the future. As I write this looking out of the window and at other lit-up windows of other apartments, I know the world is different now. I have been listening to “All Things Must Pass” by George Harrison. I play this song on repeat and wake up everyday along with everyone else, wondering: when will this all pass?

My art has not changed drastically, nor am I trying to shift what I make to be about these circumstances. Rather, I see creating as a form of record keeping. Art is marking time and being fully present within this demarcation. We have been forced to slow down. We are alone with our thoughts, our speed, and the now.As I create work in my kitchen and bedroom, life seems to be blending more and more with my art. I am okay with that. Although it feels strange, it feels natural. I think of Joseph Cornell working on his shadow boxes in his home in Queens. I think of Giorgio Morandi painting his beautifully sad objects at home in Bologna, Italy I think of Frida Kahlo painting in her bed. Art adapts. Artists react and reflect.

Why is this book separated between then and now? Well, because we have all been separated. Separated from one another and from the normal life we once had and took for granted. This book has become my way of reflecting and physically organizing the artwork I have made before the “new normal” of life now. The work created in my kitchen nook is ever changing, with days that are sad, hopeful, happy, and messy. My painting has simply reacted to given circumstances. I have shifted scale, making smaller objects that are manageable in a small apartment. I am zooming in and taking the time to notice things. I am slowing down and appreciating what we have now. As at any moment, we could lose it all. Nothing is permanent, nothing is finished, and I am adapting.

1 2 3 G0! , 2019, mixed media, dimensions variable

1 2 3 G0!  (detail), 2019, mixed media, dimensions variable

back of the brain, 2019, acrylic, oil stick and graphite on canvas, 5 x 6’

shelf life, 2020, mixed media, 5 x 4’

what's left behind, 2019, acrylic, oil stick and graphite on canvas, 6 x 6'