Ryan Peter Miller on Geometry and Physics in Squeeze Gallery's 4Square

​Scottsdale's Squeeze Gallery opens tonight with "4Square" featuring contemporary geometric work by Grant Wiggins, Bart Vargas, Ryan Peter Miller and Richard Garrison.

We met up with Ryan Peter Miller for an inside look at his process ...

Tell us about the paint you're using ...

Ryan Peter Miller: These are made from an overwhelming stack of latex paint that I had. Some of the paint is from a piece that I did for Scottsdale and the rest of it is recycled form the Tempe Recycling Center. I'm always trying to figure out, is there a better way for me to make paintings and be environmentally conscious.

image courtesy of Ryan Peter Miller
Painting's Dirty Underbelly (red) Latex on MDF 14" x 14" x 3" 2011

So you mostly use acrylic because it's easier to mold into things that don't so closely resemble paint?

RPM: Yes, and I'm interested in things that aren't paint to symbolize paint or use paint to depict other things. I want to kind of turn paint "upside down." We can consider a lot of things to be a painting if we really try to think about what it is in the terms with which we define paint. Some people will look at this and say "He's not a painter, this isn't painting," but I love paint and with that comes making fun of it a little bit and pushing it. I think that if you care about something, you have to continue making it exciting and interesting. 

How did this process start?

RPM: I started with four squares of these MDF (medium density fiber) boards and I poured paint over the the surface. It started to drip and collect, and you could see these stalactites that are forming -- I specifically set out to make that happen as much as possible. After I got about 20 or 30 layers, each color represents at least three or four coats of paint -- I would push the squares together so the paint itself was the only thing to hold them together. It represents about a month and a half of pouring. 

How long have you been experimenting with the layering technique?

RPM: I think it kind of started when I was out here. Arizona has a climate that makes it conducive to building things thick in acrylic paint because it dries so quickly. I started working with acrylic in Georgia during undergrad because oil just took too long to dry. So I took it out here to work with me as a graduate student. It'll be interesting if and when I leave Arizona how my studio practice will change. 

How does was this work influenced by your previous work?

RPM: When I started, I wasn't really certain what I was going to do with the surface and with the number of layers, I wanted to keep it simple as a foil to the edges. Each piece I kind of learn from and I feel like I'm always building on things. I'm kind of constantly hybridizing and cannibalizing my previous work to add more complexity to it.

The exhibit's opening reception will be hosted from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. The closing reception is Feb. 18 and the work will be up through March 24.

Squeeze Gallery is located at 4200 N. Marshall Way Ste. 2&3 in Scottsdale. For more information, check out Squeeze's website.

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Jessica VanZalen