Galerie Catherine Putman has pleasure in presenting for the first time a solo exhibition of the work of Rob Miles, a British artist who trained at the Royal College of Art in London.
The exhibition reflects the varied nature of his work, with paintings, drawings, collages, lithographs and cut wood. He approaches the same subject successively or simultaneously with several techniques. Using both observation and graphic abstraction, Rob Miles makes different viewpoints coexist in the same plane.
This fragmentation is a key feature of his work.
No systematics or ritual of creation is set: sometimes the making of a complex collage requires the completion of a painting that will give tone and colours; the surprises of a lithographic print can inspire pictorial innovations …
The variety of modes of expression is central to the work of Rob Miles, who is also a musician*. His practices influence and respond to each other. The pluridisciplinarity of the techniques used is also a way of multiplying viewpoints with regard to a theme and echoes his formal research.
Drawing is the starting point of all his work and a steady feature in his creative process. His sketch books are full of places, people, things and scenes of everyday life. The approach to the subject is through the interpretation of a real space that the artist imagines without hindrance, that is fragmentary and transparent.
Collage appears as a means of dissecting the scenes constructed. The space represented is cut and recomposed, with each element fitting perfectly into the next, as in marquetry. Paper collages are made using offcuts of lithographic ink monotypes that the artist has printed in his studio, thus creating a repertoire that is rich in colour and texture. More recently, he has made his collages with wood, like puzzles. Going beyond the square or rectangular shapes of canvas or paper, he keeps them as forms that are cut out.
We quickly see the desire to learn and a taste for experiment in the work of Rob Miles. What does he show us, beyond the question of plastic and formal research? An anatomy lesson, an artist’s studio, an enclosure for crocodiles and reptiles in a zoological garden, a class in the game Go… places for learning, observing and transmission that he is familiar with. The gallery itself is the subject of a painting, like a true mise en abyme.
From the deconstruction of reality and the multiplication of the points from which the object is seen, to Egyptian painting and its aspective approach, references to cubism are present but the works also make reference to architects’ plans and the non-dimensional depth of computer screens.
The compositions often have a square format with variable hanging positions. This gives us several possibilities for ‘access’ to the space, to the figures or objects represented and, setting forms aside, to the subject itself. It is not a question of twisting and deforming reality but one of bringing out features that amuse, intrigue or interest him. Rob Miles approaches his everyday environment as if he were at the theatre, whose etymology is ‘a place for looking attentively’. Life is played out in the spaces that he draws.
*Rob Miles & Les Clés Anglaises: author, composer and musician (guitar and vocals), Rob Miles is joined by his group of musicians—clarinet, doube bass, drums, keys, violin, musical saw and vocal harmonies. They perform his songs inspired by folk, country, blues and soul, with energy and eclecticism.
January 21 - March 11, 2023