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Thursday 2nd May marks the launch of ‘A Decisive Blow Against If’. This will be their first painting exhibition with writer and artist Harland Miller, following a successful run of print collaborations. The new works based on colourful Penguin Play covers, will be exhibited in the Other Criteria gallery on New Bond Street until 11 June.
Continuing from his renowned series of paintings based of the dust jackets of Penguin books, Miller combines the style and colour inherent in the Penguin plays and finds a way to marry aspects of Pop Art, abstraction and figurative painting at once, with his writer’s love of text. The ensuing images are humorous, sardonic and nostalgic at the same time, while the painting style hints at the dog-eared, scuffed covers of Penguin books themselves, giving the feeling of familiarity assonated with a loved book.
Miller says "Because these paintings reference PLAYS, there's an implied sense of drama in which you read the text, at least I think there is; I've always been playing with this idea of the characters in the texts (the characters I've made up) having a kind of spectral life behind the painting itself and perhaps the sense of theatricality makes that easier to buy into. The covers are also blown up, which suggests some kind of comment on the content as being perhaps larger than life; as do the color combinations – mine that is, not the original designers, which interestingly seem to have no correlation between the subject and the colour register or kick back you get from it. A lot of the plays that were published in this series were perhaps seen as hard going or dull compared to the more radical drama of the 60's, so perhaps this was an attempt to make them seem more modern, which could be why some of the titles I've used, such as Pipe Down Cunt which might still be unacceptable as a title in the literary world, seem to sit or work well in these pictures.