Personal Space

Ryan Peter Miller's Studio of Paint

Ryan Peter Miller's home in Tempe is his own visual resume, of sorts -- the walls, shelves (and sometimes floors) feature three-dimensional paintings and an assortment of sculptural work from his past shows.  

But Miller's quick to note that most of his pieces are up temporarily.  "The bulk of the work in here represents things that I did in graduate school. I wish I could say that I use this room more effectively, but it's kind of a receptacle for the work until it gets shipped off."

Miller currently has work on display at the A. E. England Gallery for "Schrodinger's Menagerie" and has previously shown at Squeeze Gallery, Eye Lounge, and Modified Arts.

Miller, a Georgia native, came to Phoenix for graduate school and earned his MFA in painting and drawing in 2008. 

His approach has evolved to using paint often plays with optical illusions by shaping solid block letters, figure casts, and warped window and picture frames. He often challenges the definition of paint by taking experimenting with ordinary products such as mustard and crayons. 

"I'm always going back to the substance of paint, how it moves and functions not just physically, but conceptually and how we expect it to work," he says. "It comes in a three-dimensional tube, but we expect it to get thinned out and stretched out in this specific way. It's a made-up thing."

Miller's backyard garage-studio is filled with projects in progress: a ball of paint-covered toy horses (which he's fondly named "horse ball") awaits another layer

for an upcoming show, stacks of dry paint puddles slump on a side table, stalactites of paint hang off the edges of work benches, and compact paint tiles form colorful bricks.

Miller says these leftover paint formations are remnants from other pieces that will be saved for later use.

"My work is trying to take as multi-faceted a view on painting as it possibly can -- poking fun at it, referencing historical movements, and honestly, having fun in the studio." 

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Jessica VanZalen