Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Little Woman

Martha Miller "The Little Woman" 1984  Private Collection
Maine-based artist Martha Miller attempts to dig down into the archetypal characteristics of her portrait subjects, using whatever means she deems most helpful, often including in the work certain telling details of the individual's surroundings and activities. In her engaging self-portrait, "the Little Woman", Miller has painted herself reflected in the shiny metal side of an old-school style iron, surrounded both by art supplies and domestic equipment; we see a tube of paint and also a glowingly in-use toaster, perched on the left. Miller recounts: "I did this self portrait in a painting class at USM in Gorham, Maine, in the fall of 1984 when I was 30. I was an at home Mom with 5 young children, aged 10 and under, desperate to paint and starved for time to create art." Like many artists who work at home and care for children and/or elders, Miller squeezed her art work in when she could and just never stopped. The title is ironically endearing, symbolizing how the artist's busy domestic life was necessarily diminishing yet clearly not extinguishing her artistic fire.

A mother of 5, grandmother of 5, and professor through Continuing Studies at Maine College of Art, Miller has consistently shown her work over the years in such venues as the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine and the Center for Maine Contemporary Art in Rockland. Her website can be seen at: www.marthamiller.com


Monique Lazard said...

Hi Nancy. What a great idea for a BLOG...leave it to you!! I love Martha Millers playful imagery in her painting, "The Little Woman."

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much Monique! Yeah, isn't this an engaging piece?