A Look Inside the Stars and Stripes

Joanne Artman Gallery
Sep 7, 2017 9:42PM

Greg Miller
American Woman
Joanne Artman Gallery

For Greg Miller the feelings and memories that the American flag brings up are of a particular time and place - his grandfather’s old garage. Specifically, a faded American flag that was tacked up on the wall there, its drapes and folds surrounded and illuminated by a ring of Christmas lights. An indelible memory that informs his piece American Woman. In the work, Miller skillfully builds upon our own senses and associations with both the American flag as well as the black and white image of the female siren, her blonde hair and dark lipstick sleek and iconic, head tilted up, eyes closed in a rapturous delight. It’s an unforgettable, bittersweet vision that is equal parts sentimentality and grit. For Miller, this is his adaptation of both a personal as well as social record. For each of us, the image of the American flag brings up our own interpretations of both America’s history as well as our own relationship with the idea of the American Dream.

Emanuel Leutze,Washington Crossing the Delaware,Oil on Canvas, 1851 (Courtesy of WikiCommons)

American flag imagery is an important symbol in the art historical timeline as well. One of the best known images that poignantly and earnestly captures the glory of America’s early Revolutionary triumph isWashington Crossing the Delaware,painted by German artist Emanuel Leutze. The flag here serves as a beacon of both hope as well as glory. (Incidentally, this work that has come to symbolize our spirit as a nation was conceived by the artist as an inspiration for Europe’s liberal reformers through the example of the American Revolution.) The type of national pride and the sacredness of the flag itself as a symbol that this painting evokes, has come to be associated with painters such as Norman Rockwell who capitalized on the idealization of small town American values. Though the flag made a sometime appearance in Rockwell’s imagery, it’s presence can be felt through the sentiments elicited.

Jasper Johns,Three Flags, 1958 (Image courtesy of WikiCommons)

The work of Jasper Johns went far to reform the narrative around the American flag. In his investigation of signs as objects, specifically in his endless iterations of the flag, Johns experimented with the effect of context, and the powerful immediacy of experience over specific meaning. Building upon this history, Miller does not reduce the flag to the level of the object, nor does he imbue it with the achingly sweet nostalgia of Norman Rockwell. InAmerican WomanMiller strikes a balance that allows us to inform the piece with our own personal experience, as well as build upon its established history.

Check out Greg Miller's Solo Exhibition at our NYC Location: "Deconstruction Allusion" Fall 2017  ||  511 A West 22nd St. New York NY 10011. Reception: Thursday, September 7th, 2017 from 6pm-8pm Please RSVP: 949.510.5481

949.510.5481 || www.joanneartmangallery.com || [email protected]

Joanne Artman Gallery