Visual Arts

Ryan Peter Miller's Mark Making at Modified Arts

​If you pass by Modified Arts during July's Third Friday and see art purveyors and surveyors examining scenes of dinosaurs and sex acts lining the walls, there's no need to be confused (or to call the cops).

Former Modified Arts Director Kim Larkin and current owner Kimber Lanning are hosting a variety of summer programming. Up this month: local artist Ryan Peter Miller's last exhibition before he leaves for the grayer pastures of Chicago.

On display is Miller's Excavation series, which he completed over a year ago, and his latest work, a series he calls Mark Making for more than one reason.

"I try to make things that I find funny and hope that enough people will get on board and laugh and enjoy the same things that I do," Miller says.

The result is a series of images all featuring famous Marks alongside depictions of sexual acts (i.e. "making their mark"), all created with the use of markers. Famous Marks include Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg, actors Mark Wahlberg, and Mark Hammill, and host of classic Nickelodeon shows "What Would You Do?" and "Double Dare" Marc Summers.

The play on words also applies to the compositions themselves as they consist of small marks, like cross hatches or spotting, which create the completed image. With four compositions completed, he said he plans to make more with plans to include Mark McGwire and Markie Post (yes, the same one from Night Court).

"I feel like a lot of the work I've generated in the last few years is kind of 'insider art;' it's art that may be appreciated by people who know a lot about art," Miller says. "I'm trying to move away from that and make something that may be a little more readily appreciated by a larger audience and still have that smart ass edge to it."

Miller describes Excavation as another series of meta-works that can be looked at in a few different ways. The collection features layers and layers of paint being carved into to create images of dinosaurs, a technique he says that upsets some of his contemporaries because it's "a sculpture, not a painting."

"The paint itself is a dinosaur in a couple of different ways. Literally, paint is a fossil fuel. But there's also the idea that paint is the old way of making art," Miller says. "These hard, distinct disciplines of fiber art or drawing or painting or making ceramics -these disciplines are kind of old now."

Excavation is the result of Miller's attempt to do something new with paint while referencing it's status as "a dinosaur." He literally has excavating the images from the layers of paint.

​The show will be on display until July 23rd, after which Miller will be relocating to Illinois. Modified Arts is located at 407 East Roosevelt Street in Phoenix. Check out their webpage for more information.

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Joseph Schmidt
Contact: Joseph Schmidt

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