Seasons are shifting

My year runs on a slightly altered calendar to others. I have two end of year times. One is in December…

One is in June, it’s a tiny death and a larger rebirth…

So in this rebirth, I endured a breakup, found a new apt. Resigned from my old job, had my art storage unit broken into.

However in this new season I have seen my art career take notable steps forward. I have indeed been putting in work but some opportunities have come from venues I have not pursued.

Due to some outlying contracts where I’m not allowed to announce until the client does, I will tell you only what I can *wink*

My spring was incredibly fruitful and prolific, per my usual but at a higher level than I have ever known.

I worked with Center stage to offer a ‘after talk’ to one of their plays released digitally which was titled ‘The Glorious World of Kinks Curls, and Crowns’, which was 9 monologues of African American women speaking abut their hair as it relates to their black identity. I was in conversation with Maryland Delegate Stephanie Smith who helped pass the Crown Act.

My colleagues who graduated with me from the MFA in studio art program at Maryland Institute College of Art, organized a show with VisArts, in Rockville, MD. Sadly our school did nothing offer us a culminating show of any kind, not even virtual, even though we pay for this in our tuition. However, this show allowed me to show my thesis work and try a new concept my putting myself into my ‘Ritual Cleansing’ performance as high priestess with others who would intercess for particular people who has passed on. See the ritual cleansing registry for more information.

Lastly, I received a prestigious invite to come show work at the DE contemporary museum in Wilmington, DE. This invite came through a lovely curator in residence there, who used to be a curator at the Baltimore Museum of Art. This exceptional curator, Kristen Hileman, was a connection through MICA. I told myself this is why you attend a school like this to be able to get your work in front of the right people. I hadn’t imagined the year fresh out of grad school I would be able to create an entire installation for a museum. Very powerful realization in my life. This show is up until the end of august 2021. The show is 4 large rooms celebrating black hair and blackness in celebration of the passing of the crown act in the state of Delaware.

I have another upcoming opportunity in the area of Rockville, MD. The Lynching Memorial Project has asked me to be a part of their remembrance weekend at the site of the jail where one of the lynching victims was held before being tragically removed and murdered by a mob. These dates are still being set. Please consider joining the mailing list through the website, or sending me an email through the website and I can add you.

Lastly I’m always looking for future collaborators to work with. If you have an idea etc that you want to pitch to me or something else, please reach out through the website : Lizannmiller.com

Pace- DE

Things have been progressing at an intense pace here.

I remember back when I lived in my small hometown in the Midwest. In my field, between the ages of 18-25 I had worked for most of the major players in town. I often ran into kids that I had taught dance to while just trying to go to the movies. I had taught so many that I often did not recognize them because it was generally from an isolated summer camp I had taught.

This same momentum, over the past 15 years, has been building here, in Baltimore…

Yesterday, another podcast Interview was released about my work, this time with charm city dreamers. And today I am installing my first museum show at the Delaware Contemporary in Wilmington.

This show is about the Crown Act being passed in Delaware.

Here’s an excerpt:

OPENING EVENT:
Friday, June 4, 2021 | 5 – 8 PM during First Friday

Unapologetic Conversations of Hair & Nonconformity brings attention to the past discriminatory practices that have threatened to remove people of color from professional opportunities. Systemic prejudices have historically limited access to opportunities due to nonconformity to cultural standards that promote discriminatory practices towards natural and true, authentic selves. Through personal narrative and artistic practice, the ten artists showcased here promote conversations around identity, access, discrimination, and conformity through the celebration of authenticity and pride in one’s natural being.  

The diversity of approach and use of materials celebrate the beauty, the artistry, the heritage of people of color and authenticity to themselves—specifically natural hair and its appearance without apology to the institutional and societal standards constructed by Eurocentric ideas and standards. A few states including Delaware have passed legislation (The Crown Act) banning discriminatory practices on the grounds of hair style selection, making the choice of hair styles, particularly in the Black community, protected.  As a public facing institution,  The Delaware Contemporary embraces these efforts to confront how such rhetoric and politics alienate people of color, and we engage in public discourse about how discrimination and microaggressions play out in institutions, including museums and artistic venues, and in opportunities of advancement for people of color.

PARTICIPATING ARTISTS:
Emerald Arguelles, Stephanie Boateng, Ashleigh Brady, Michael Dika, Liz Miller, Lebohang Motaung, Robyn Phillips-Pendleton, Stephanie Richardson, Felandus Thames, and Shannon Woodloe

Teacher life

Our newest update in Baltimore city schools is that we are going to be going back in our schools before the numbers decline in Baltimore city, and before we, as teachers, are vaccinated. Many of us teachers are terrified because the BCPS school system is not quick or concerned to meet needs. I watched 1/3 bathrooms in our building get shut down and it took 3 months to fix. 2 months for the workers to even come look at it. I had kindergarteners having to be escorted from my room down the hall 200 ft instead of being able to do a bathroom break right outside my room. All this to say that- the PPE, ventilation system, the spacing, the schedules, etc are going to be a hot mess. You may have heard on the news that we are allowed to stay home, but we are not. We can take family medical leave for a temporary amount of time at 2/3 pay. Please tell me if you can live on 2/3 of what you are making right now.

#makeitmakesense #whenitssafe

https://www.artseveryday.org/10×10-voting-works/

On a lighter note!

I’d like to share some amazing news. Despite my own issues with pushing my personal fine art, I’ve had great success with my student’s art.

So I just got word that the site is live above where some of my students word is being featured in the Artseveryday 10×10 ‘Voice’ exhibit. Our works are in the voting folder, but some of ours got doubly featured in the gender section as well. So proud of my students, because the director asked for permission to print their work and frame and feature in the lobby of the Motorhouse in Baltimore, MD where their offices are. I think a projector may be involved as well. I will be swinging by soon to video this for my students ❤️.

So when the going gets tough, the students excel! Our students are rising!

Follow our future adventures @msmillerartroom

https://www.instagram.com/p/CKco_c6hvWM/?igshid=luzkrvr0iu1j

Pocket full of seeds

I’ve decided to resuscitate an old blog and revamp it for my renewed creative voice today. I have a lot to say about the creative process, or namely MY creative process and would like to allow these words and insight to flow freely to you.

Apparently my website is doing well and so having a blog connected will allow people a better insight into my creative process. So here we go.

Today is New Years Day. But on the year 2020 so it is anything but normal. New Years in America is, in fact, my favorite holiday. This particular holiday season I was unable to go see family and so ended up with two weeks off of school with no direction. A type A personality like mine, Myers Briggs INTJ, I had a loose list of 30 projects I hoped to cross off and I am 2/3 through this list. Many of these are extensive applications which are not easily done in an hour, but need extensive though and a few days

committed to rounding them up.

But all of these tasks are dedicated to my art practice. I’m realizing that anything connecting to my art practice is, in fact, building up myself as a brand. This feels strange to me, but I’m leaning into it. I am an auto-didact. I did not have parents with extensively varied skillsets, so I have been teaching myself a great many things at a discount. Now with a teachers salary and having graduated with my MFA, I am pushing to find the next thing to invest in to make myself a better professional fine artist. It’s been challenging for sure, as I play a hunch here and there. Not sure at all of what I’m doing but a great analyzer of patterns and observers of others; I’m watching what works and what doesn’t and then pushing forward.

See the above link tree for a variety of interesting links concerning my updated work and vision going forward as a hair sculptor. I’ve recently launched a Patreon for those to get involved a bit more intimately in my work and receive art from me quarterly. I’ll be blogging on there about the soundtrack process for the trailer of my film. I’m excited about the little steps of everything.

My most recent film, UBUNTU is listed in the link tree. My website explains more intimately what the film is if you want a preview. I’m still tweaking the trailer which is a really surprising mini project that I’m enamored with. I’ll be testing out a local composer for that project to feel them out for future collaborations.

People who have been speaking about the energy shifts for 2021, have been very right with my understanding. I’m a self-described, diagnosed HSP (highly sensitive person) and empath. There is a renewing coming and it’s incredible. This list of things in my hand is my pocket of seeds for the new year.

I love New Years for the simple optimism it brings. Finishing a year and beginning anew. It’s always felt strange because I have been a teacher for a long time and experience two New Years/yr. This conventional New Year’s Day of January 1st is great, but I have a long stretch to reach mid June when my work for the year ends. However this is much like a ‘work in progress crit’. These crits/critiques often seem unfair to the self-critical artist. We are meant to bring unfinished pieces before our peers to get their thoughts. Artists are great for this. We do not need finished strokes to imagine what could be. Paint for us with your words and it will be enough for us to imagine and offer you guidance, insight and questions.

So here I am on New Years Day, resuscitating my blog from 2016, which had great work on it already, connecting to my successful website and being sure to get it to you guys. I hope these words refresh you and we can walk in 2021 with our new seeds taking root or not and learning from our gardening of our lives and pursuits.

Here’s to us and tomorrow, our perpetual tomorrows and our parallel journeys.

I’m blessed to have you along with me and me along with you.

❤️

Featured Sound Artist: Susan Philipsz

I chose Susan Philipsz because she sounds a bit like one of my favorite musical artists, Enya. She creates her sounds using her own voice against various pieces of architecture which allow for ethereal sound distortion. She installs speakers in strategic points at a public location and then plays her sounds as an outside installation. Thus allowing the public to engage with the architecture in a new way. Through her art she is trying to help the audience engage more introspectively and authentically with the space.

She samples from various other musical influences including David Bowie and various folk tunes for her recordings. She is Glaswegian and was the first sound artist to win a Turner prize in 2010, SURROUND ME: A Song Cycle for the City of London.

Philipsz’s work can be found in the collections of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, The Tate in London, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid, Baltimore Museum of Art, Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany, Carnegie Museum of Art, Castello di Rivoli in Italy, and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.

hear her work here

 

Honorable Mention:

The song ‘I Question mark’ is one which has consistently impressed me through the years. I first experienced this song through a piece of choreography by Wade Robson on the show ‘So You Think You Can Dance’, about 10 years ago. I believe the choreographer Wade Robson was the one to mix this track, though there is very limited information available about it’s creation. This song is rumored to be based originally off of a Michael Jackson track. It combines a various of traffic related noises to a beat and some ambient sounds. I think that it does an excellent job of showing how sounds can be organized to become music.

Hear ‘I Question Mark’ here.

See a solo by the dancer ‘Twitch’ from season 4 of the ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ reality show competition here.

Featured Artist: Beth Cavener

I first learned about Beth Cavener, just a few weeks ago. I was vacationing in Virginia Beach,VA and attended an event at the Museum of Contemporary Art there. They had an exhibit which featured Hi Fructose (http://hifructose.com/), a successful contemporary art magazine online.

MOCA (Virginia Beach’s contemporary art museum) featured an exhibit where they chose 50 of the top artists celebrated in the magazine, Hi Fructose. The curators then chose pieces by said artists and tracked them down, so some of these works are on loan from permanent exhibits, private collections, etc, making this a truly unique exhibition.Beth Cavener is a ceramist who creates animals out of clay, usually in poses which are not quite comfortable or natural for the that particular animal. On her website, www.followtheblackrabbit.com, she speaks about human psychology being expressed through animal forms. She likes to blur the line between animal and human, gaining access to what she calls our ‘awkward edges’ and trying to bring attention to them. To get a better feel for her process, click here.

 

Above:

“Trapped”. 2015
Dimensions:
Figure: H 21 x L 37 x D 22 in.
Materials: Stoneware, paint, 18 k gold, rope, wood.

The blurb next to this piece spoke about the things that bind us and what they bind us to. While the fox’s leg is caught in a snare, the fox is not trying to gnaw that leg to set itself free. The fox wears a ring on it’s right front paw and is instead gnawing on this leg in anguish. This begs the question of the things that we are bound to by choice and the ones we wish to set ourselves free from.

A wider angle can be found here.

Above:

Title: “Unrequited” (Variation in Pink)
Year: 2016
Dimensions: H 15 x L 45 x W 16 in
Materials: Resin infused refractory material, paint, steel base

This piece is so remarkable in person because of the awkwardness of the position of the rabbit. Never do you see rabbits in this position and yet this subject looks very peaceful and serene.

Her work is exquisite. She simply enthralls me with her understanding of the flow and texture of the hair on each animal. She clearly does her research on each subject in order to adequately reflect it in an artistic interpretation of reality. While they appear realistic at first, it seems she enlarges the eyes and enhances certain features of the animal for emphasis and focal point, while maintaining her push towards communicating with subtlety.

I hope you’ve enjoyed her work as much as I have. I really couldn’t share about this artist in one paragraph and be able to do her work justice. Hopefully the extra information I’ve shared has not only given you a more complete picture of her talents, but also cultivated in you an appreciation for what she is contributing to the contemporary art scene today.