Nachume Miller

OverviewLooking at a Geometric Form #2, 1979, 24" x 30", Plaster Relief, Acrylic.

A new experiment, Nachume takes on a fresh set of media and methods in these works, and tackles different subject matter. Through the use of relief in plaster and its counterpoint, prints on fabric, these works also unite the two and three-dimensional; grooves and raised textures carved into and embossed onto flat surfaces.

Relief is often considered an artisan or decorative form lesser than fine art. Skilled laborers carve it on public spaces such as Greek temples and cathedral walls. Printmaking and textile art also commonly seen as “below” fine art—created by craftsmen and seamstresses. Unlike rarefied artwork for the wealthy, there is a common need for these techniques. Nachume draws out these connotations in the subject matter of these pieces: laborers, construction workers and farmers performing their own versions of skilled labor. Scenes of domestic life: a man shaving, a loaf of bread, a woman in her parlor: ordinary, day-to-day life.

Diego Rivera and his WPA civic murals are present in the works’ laborers. Nachume references Dutch still lives, placing them on the same canvases as high modern strokes of black. Here, as usual, Nachume expresses his respect for tradition: the universality of these themes, and the inexorable presence of the past.

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