Review: Garry Fabian Miller: Dwelling (4 stars)

Review: Garry Fabian Miller: Dwelling

credit: Michael Wolchover

With his photographic materials no longer in production, Miller explores new mediums

What’s an artist to do when his core materials are suddenly no longer available? Garry Fabian Miller has built his career making camera-less photographic images using light on Cibachrome paper, but the materials have now been discontinued by their Swiss manufacturer and his stock is due to run out next year. Miller has responded with a two-pronged approach: re-examining the roots of his practice while at the same time pushing out in intriguing new directions.

One result of this has been his collaboration with Dovecot Studios to make two tufted rugs, inspired by his prints, which form the centrepiece of this exhibition. Shown with classic Miller works around them, they are extraordinary in the way they convey a similar intensity of light, and he hopes now to extend the collaboration to a large-scale tapestry.

In the beautifully soft lighting of Dovecot’s exhibition space, his classic abstract images seem to glow as if backlit. But there are no lightboxes here; this is light captured on paper, passed through materials such as oil or water using long exposures to create images that suggest planets and galaxies, or equally microbes and cells.

The exhibition also brings together Miller’s work with impressionistic paintings by 20th century artist Winifred Nicholson, whom he considers to be a major influence. While her painterly works appear, on the surface at least, to be very different from the almost clinical sharpness of Miller’s captured light, putting them side-by-side teases out the similarities. Two late semi-abstract works by Nicholson, ‘Consciousness’ and ‘Accord’, reveal a little known side to her practice.

The two artists also share an interest in rugs (several belonging to Nicholson are included in the show), which in turn explains why Miller, looking for a new direction, found himself turning to hearth and home, and came to see his own work in a new light.

Dovecot Studios, Edinburgh, until July 4

Garry Fabian Miller: Dwelling

Rugs and other work created as part of a collaboration between Dovecot Studios and the photographic artist.

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