Lindsay Gallery artist Bill Miller was featured in a Columbus Dispatch article earlier this year:
Linoleum lives on
Ex-painter uses flooring as groundwork for bright scenes
Sunday, April 23, 2006
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
To all the homeowners and landlords who sensibly covered their kitchen floors or any other room with linoleum: Bill Miller says thanks.
Miller, 44, of Silver Spring, Md., turns vintage linoleum into fine art. An exhibit of his work recently opened in the Short North?s Lindsay Gallery.
His pieces look like mosaics or collages or paintings, but they’re none of the above.
“The thing is, it’s all linoleum,” gallery owner Duff Lindsay said.
“When you’re at a distance, they look like lush, vintage oil paintings. Then, when you get up close, you see that the deft brushwork is really the skilled piecing together of linoleum.”
Lindsay represents a broad genre of folk artists, most of them self-taught, who work in wood, stone or paint.
Miller is his first linoleum artist. And he isn’t self-taught but has an associate’s degree in graphic arts from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh.
He began working with linoleum about 10 years ago.
“I was a painter living in Pittsburgh,” Miller said. “I started working with a group of artists making big sculptures in abandoned steel mills. We would go to abandoned sites, use whatever we could and make a big creature.
“That started my scavenging. I would see old linoleum and see how beautiful it was. I saw the gorgeous patterns. I’d find it in Dumpsters and save it.”
Miller uses up to 60 selections of linoleum for one work, cutting dozens of chunks and gluing them together on a board. His process of assemblage is similar to that of a mosaic.
The scene that emerges could be a self-portrait or a picture of Andy Warhol, Abraham Lincoln or Jesus. It might be a ship sailing across a storm-tossed sea or a bucolic landscape.
To create depth, he adds layers. In Kentucky Home, depicting a house and its yard, five layers of linoleum pieces overlap so that trees can be seen in front of the house.
The challenge, Miller said, is often to find a tiny piece of linoleum to complete an image.
“I’m taking a bit of the past and re-claiming it.”