Artist Statement

My paintings merges my everyday domestic routine with a waking aspirational fantasy life. I explore ideas, desires, influences, and personas without a hierarchy: my shadow merging with the shadow of my dog, a fight I had with my partner, a game I made up as a little girl, the desire to sit on a fan on a hot day. Boundaries of “the real” and imagined fluidly shift, reflect, and coalesce into paintings and then are reflected back into life experiences.

My work carries absurd scenarios rife with dialectical tension-- the simultaneous pleasure and discomfort of breastfeeding or the simultaneous joy and terror of birth. In the recent paintings, I use the fictional character Ina from the novel Lapvona by Ottessa Moshfegh as a stand-in for myself. Ina, a magical childless woman, begins spontaneously lactating in her forties. After discovering her newfound ability to lactate, Ina suckles herself and finds that immediately after she regains sight. She is integrated back into her community as a wet nurse-- each time she nurses, Ina temporarily regains her vision. In the paintings, I explore a similar concurrent abasement and elation of birthing, nursing, and motherhood. Like Ina seeking momentary connection and a renewed sense of identity, in my paintings, I iterate through compositions-- fumbling around for a painting that sits somewhere in between awkward and stable.

Painting as a medium, highly sensitive to touch, chromatic nuance, and its inherent immediacy, is perfectly suited for exploring inner desires, fears, and fantasies. Shapes, forms, and colors misregister, rubbing up against each other in ways that create a sense of vibration or visual hide-and-seek. Rather than the work describing the climactic fulfillment of desire and touch, it points to the inability to fully realize these desires and a reckoning with cultural expectations of femininity, fecundity, and aging.

© Annie Miller 2022