Writer and an artist Harland Miller was born in Yorkshire, England in 1964, and studied at Chelsea School of Art, graduating in 1988 with an MA. Fascinated by literary figurres such as Edgar Allan Poe and Ernest Hemingway and drawing artistic influences from a number of contemporary artists, his work explores the relationship between words, images and the process of producing meaning. Through a cleverly combined use of text and imagery, his paintings, sculptures and mixed media works comment on the frequent disconnect between representation and reality whilst touching on traditional literary motifs. After living and exhibiting in New York, Berlin and New Orleans during the 80s and 90s, Miller achieved critical acclaim with his debut novel, ‘Slow down Arthur, Stick to Thirty’ (2000); the story of a kid who travels around northern England with a David Bowie impersonator; In the same year he published a small novella, First I was Afraid, I was Petrified, based on the true story of a female relative with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, discovered when Miller came across a box full of Polaroid images she had taken of the knobs of a cooker. In 2001 Miller produced a series of paintings based on the dust jackets of Penguin books. By combining witty titles alongside an abstract expressionist view of the powerful, emotive motif inherent in the iconic Penguin cover, Miller has found a way to marry aspects of Pop Art, abstraction and figurative painting with his writer’s love of text, simultaneously providing a subject for the painter and an outlet for the writer. The ensuing images are humorous, sardonic and nostalgic at the same time, and both the subject and style hint towards the fragility of the human condition and the dog-eared and dusty old covers of the Penguin classics we know and love. Miller continues to create work in this vein, expanding the book covers to include his own phrases, some hilarious and absurd, others with a lush melancholy. Miller was the Writer in Residence at the ICA for 2002 and over the course of his residence he programmed a number of events drawing from his experience in literature and fine art, which included a season devoted to the ongoing influence and legacy of Edgar Allen Poe. In 2008 Miller curated a group exhibition, 'You dig the tunnel, I'll hide the soil' in homage to Edgar Allen Poe, to mark the bicentenary of his birth. Staged across two venues, White Cube Hoxton and Shoreditch Town Hall, Miller exhibited several new works including an installation in Hoxton Square that deceived many visitors. 'I Was Always Good at Finding Things I' comprises of seven forensic figures in a cordoned off area, examining it for what appears to be evidence, whether traces of a murder or something even more inexplicable, a sinister air is apparent. Instead of the word POLICE, the blue and white tape says 'THE TELL-TALE HEART', a classic short story by Poe where the assailant invites the police to search the home for his victim, laying hidden under the floorboards. In the following year Miller, turned to the police campaign mounted against the infamous 'Yorkshire Ripper' in 1978 that had been misconstrued by the hoax letters and tapes sent by John Samuel Humble a.k.a Wearside Jack from the North East. For his exhibition at the BALTIC, Miller painted a series of large billboards entitled 'The Consequence of a Failed Illusion (West Yorkshire Police Public Information Campaign)' which, over time had been ripped to reveal adverts catch-phrases and imagery amongst samples of Wearside Jack's writing or emergency number to call and listen to his voice. Group exhibitions include 'Fools Rain', ICA, London (1996), 'Direct Painting', Kunsthalle, Mannheim (2004), 'Summer Exhibition', Royal Academy of Arts, London (2005, 2006) and 'The Sculpture in the Close', Jesus College, Cambridge (2013). Solo exhibitions include 'Don't Let the Bastards Cheer You Up', BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead (2009), and 'The Next Life's On Me', White Cube Hoxton Square, London (2012). In late 2012, Miller had his first solo show at Ingleby Gallery entitled 'Overcoming Optimism'.
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