Tracy Miller layers thick landscapes of floating confections and saccharine abstract forms, her still lifes looping and swirling in dense but airy compositions. Recognizable brands like Budweiser and Jujyfruit commingle with cakes and hams adorned with delicately placed pineapples and cherries on top, all interspersed with drips and drops and patches of color. The imaginary Kodachrome scenes harken back to the nostalgic domestic images of 1950s cookbooks and movie theater candy, reinforcing the escapist decadence of a palette that excites and agitates and yet somehow doesn’t quite reflect the real world.
Using a combination of Old Master underpainting, drafting techniques, and the openness of folk art compositions, Miller’s forms gel and coagulate yet seem to remain in perpetual motion. Her flat application of paint and dramatic scale shifts add to the disquieting spatial uncertainty and allow each element to hover over inky and amorphous accumulations of saturated color. These visual feasts present an aggressive underbelly of overconsumption, resentment, and feminist themes, never quite providing nourishment or satisfying the true cravings they awaken.
Miller's work has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions, including shows at Feature Inc., New York, NY; the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center, Washington, DC; Miles McEnery Gallery, New York, NY; Derek Eller Gallery, New York, NY; Mrs. Gallery, Maspeth, NY; the Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Rockland, ME; Philip Slein Gallery, St. Louis, MO; and Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago, IL. She is the recipient of the Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship; three Pollock-Krasner Awards; a NYFA Award; the Rutsch Award; the Hassam, Speicher, Betts and Symons Purchase Prize through the American Academy of Arts and Letters; the Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation Space Grant; and the Elizabeth Foundation Award. Her work is included in the collections of the Baltimore Museum of Art, Clifford Chance, Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, Des Moines Art Center, Deutsche Bank, SEI/West Family Collection, and the Tang Teaching Museum. Miller received a BFA from the University of Iowa, an MFA from the University of California at Berkeley, and attended Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. She lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
“Tracy Miller’s Raging Alcholates,” Johanna Burton, 2003
“In the Big Rock Candy Mountain,” Will Heinrich, 2013