Adam Miller - Among the Ruins

amongruinsweb.jpg
amongruinsweb.jpg

Adam Miller - Among the Ruins

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Trained in Florence and elsewhere around Europe, Adam Miller combines his expert skill in classical composition and figuration with uniquely modern thematic concerns. The results are arresting critiques of the modern age that yearn for a simpler, more utopian time that exists only in the imaginary. In his series Among the Ruins, Miller lends his attention to the ecological and human costs of late capitalism.

The series’ eponymous piece portrays a nude five-person family in the foreground. Though their expressions communicate exasperation and an existential discomfort, their proximity to each other and distance from the hellish cityscape lurking in the work’s background offsets the family’s apparent distress from the larger world’s destructive tendencies. From left to right and distal to proximal the painting’s figures become more hopeful: dogs tear at the dead and dying men on the left, city-leading road, while a family of pigeons gawk happily at a newly laid egg in the painting’s rightmost, nearest portion. With his painting, Miller asserts that the nuclear family, whether embodied by humans or pigeons, is the compassionate polar opposite of modernity’s lonely crush and tear. And yet, the two exist simultaneously and are interdependent, each balancing the other compositionally, thematically and existentially.

The news is not all dour. The mixture of utopian yearnings and dystopian realities conveys more than a simple condemnation of the world’s current predicament; the dichotomy conveys the hope that, through a consciousness of where we are and where we want to be as a species, we may move closer to the yearned for, imaginary utopia and further from the well worn path to dystopia.