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 Melissa Miller  (1951 - )

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Lived/Active: Texas      Known for: expressionist-animal-allegory

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Ad Code: 3
Melissa Miller
from Auction House Records.
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Painter Melissa W. Miller, born in Houston, Texas in 1951, has received three National Endowment for the Arts grants, in 1979, 1982 and 1985. She was given two Texas-based awards, in 1982 from the Anne Giles Kimbrough Fund of the Dallas Museum of Art, and in 1987, the Texas Arts Award. In 1974, she received a scholarship to attend the Yale-Norfolk Summer School of Art and Music, in Connecticut, where she studied with realist painter Gabriel Laderman.

Other educational venues include 1969 to 1971 at the University of Texas, Austin; 1971 at the Museum of Fine Arts School, Houston; and a B.F.A. degree in 1974 in Albuquerque at the University of New Mexico.

Miller has lived most of her life just outside Austin or in Flatonia, Texas, on the family ranch, where her mythic, metaphorical, expressionistic paintings of animals began, at first based on the family chickens and cows in 1977. Speaking, in 1995, of the evolution of her art, Miller observed that, "Since 1985, there has been a shift in my paintings from an external observation of the human condition to an internal dialogue about the psyche.... Though individual animals are still the main protagonists in my paintings, they now interact with humanoids, angels, demons and spirits. In all the paintings, symbols and characters are carefully considered. I often use western cultural symbols of angels and devils to personify good and evil."

Miller's work is in the collections of four Texas museums and corporations including the Modern Art Museum, Fort Worth; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; AMOCO, in Houston; ARCO, in Dallas; as well as the Museum of Modern Art, New York City; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; and the Contemporary Museum, in Honolulu, Hawaii.

One-person exhibitions include 1983 and 1985 at the Texas Gallery, Houston; 1985 at the Holly Solomon Gallery, New York City; 1986 at the Fort Worth Art Museum, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, and Albright-Knox Art Gallery; and 1991 at the Kimball Art Museum in Fort Worth.

Group exhibitions include 1983, the New Museum, and Whitney Museum of American Art biennial, both in New York City; 1984, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California, and Venice Biennale, in Italy; 1985, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; 1986, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; 1989, Cincinnati Art Museum; and 1992, Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, Wausau, Wisconsin.

Melissa Miller, a visiting lecturer and guest artist at over twenty colleges, universities, and art institutes, is currently an Assistant Professor in the College of Fine Arts at the University of Texas, Austin.

Jules and Nancy Heller, "North American Women Artists of the 20th Century"

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