|by Steve Charles • May 24, 2006|
David Miller ’03 has a knack for changing the way one sees the urban environment, but his new show takes that ability to new heights.
"Concrete Skies," opening June 9 at the Tippecanoe Arts Federation in Lafayette, IN, takes viewers under, around, and over the top (via helicopter) of the nation’s most congested roadway, revealing a surprising symmetry and, yes—even beauty.
"I'm fascinated by construction and the human element I see there," says Miller, who has exhibited several shows in Germany and the United States in the last two years featuring Berlin's urban landscapes.
"East Berlin is still plagued by a poor economy," says Miller, who lived in the city for more than a year while photographically documenting the architecture of workspaces there. "The cityscape is dominated by abandoned, useable factories and inhabitable buildings whose sole use is to be a graffiti canvas for East Berlin’s misspent youth."
In Miller's prints of graffiti and re-arranged materials, the vacated factories sometimes seem more lived-in than when they were viable workplaces. Just the opposite is true with his photographs of LA freeways in "Concrete Skies."
"There are so many people on these roads, there's never a time when there's not a car on these roads; but they seem so lifeless," Miller says.
Miller currently lives in Los Angeles, where he designs websites and graphics and continues his vocation as a photographer.
"I guess I’m sort of a visual jack of all trades," Miller says. "If I was sitting in front of computer all day, I would not be happy, and if I was taking photos all day I wouldn’t be happy either. Doing both allows me to keep myself fresh creatively. It’s healthy."
With one show at Occidental College wrapping up, Miller's looking forward to his return to Indiana and the opening of "Concrete Skies."
"This show is a lot different than others I’ve done," says the artist, the son of an architectural engineer. "A lot of different photographs really caught my eye."
The exhibit is likely to catch the viewer’s eye, and ear, as well. Although Miller’s prints will dominate the show, he’ll also have screens with websites showing real-time video of the freeway and its notorious gridlock. And through speakers in the room, viewers will experience the cacophony of it all.
"LA freeways are so loud you can’t drive without the windows rolled up," Miller says. "These freeways are chock-full of people day, evening, night."
"Concrete Skies" opens with a reception to meet the artist on June 9 at the Tippecanoe Arts Federation, 638 North Street, in Lafayette, IN. The exhibit runs through July 7.
For those who can’t make the show, Miller is preparing an online exhibition, similar but more advanced than one he created for the Berliner Project.
"It will be a full blown exhibition online," Miller says. "I’m excited about using flash and new technology to create a memorable user experience on the web."
To see Miller’s work on The Berliner Project at: www.berlinerproject