John Miller

My work reflects both a love of the immediacy of the glass material and a respect for its demanding properties.  Some pieces are very formal and about glass and how it moves; others envelope a sense of humor and playfulness.  I am always interested in pushing the medium to its heights.  My work is about control and proportion as much as it is about finding new textures and forms.  

Being primarily a blower, the basic form of all my sculptural work is the vessel.  My initial interest in vessel making developed when I began blowing glass over a decade ago.  Since then, I have explored many ways of transforming the vessel form into sculpture.  I began combining the glass vessel with a variety of materials using cold processes.  Later, I manipulated hot glass, adding solid glass elements to the basic vessel form, as well as copper elements to restrict and constrain molten material.  In my most recent series, I have challenged my technical skill by experimenting with scale.

Much of my work has its roots in the traditional Venetian style of glass blowing.  I found that by reproducing traditional goblet forms on a larger scale, these objects began to take on new meaning.  The form became physically challenging to the viewer and entered a new realm of significance.  Eventually, I would experiment with the exaggerated scale of a variety of recognizable objects.  The result was often humorous.

While looking through images of the work of Pop artist's from the 1960's, something clicked for me.  Previously, I had been making artwork that revolved around serious topics.  I felt that this work revealed only one side of me.  The predominant side of my personality is very loose and comical, but this had not come out yet artistically.  

One of my main influences growing up was the silent comedy genius of Buster Keaton.  Although humor was central to his art, he was intensely serious about his work.  I feel our approach to the creative process is similar.  Keaton managed to find a balance between his difficult life and his brilliant slapstick gags.  Similarly, I try to find equilibrium between the intensity of glass blowing and the humor which can be found in art and the art making process.

It seems that I have returned to my roots as a vessel maker in my most recent work, but with a better understanding of the influences and motivation behind my choices.  I feel that my experiences as a student of art and a working artist have given me a solid understanding of the technical processes of making sculpture and an awareness of the contexts and influences behind my aesthetic decisions.

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