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Artist and Writer Harland Miller to Present a Collection of Paintings and Montages at Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art
Harland Miller, Bridlington Ninety Three Million Miles from the Sun, 2002.

GATESHEAD.- These works, located on the ground floor, have been made or adapted, specifically for Baltic from a series of works Miller has referred to as the Bad Weather paintings. Based on the dust jackets of old Penguin books they are painterly reproductions of these iconic classics but with fictitious titles that are specific to the North East where Miller himself grew up. In execution these works reference American abstraction, and German expressionism, which when combined with his writers love of text, create a feeling of belonging to a tradition of very English pop art. As such, the resultant work, which hints at the beat up nature of old paperbacks, evokes a wilful sense of nostalgia within which there are equal measures of the humour and tragedy innate in the culture of the north: Bridlington - Costal Erosion – It’s Not All Bad News; Yorkshire – It Was A Struggle When Times Were Good and You Can Rely On Me – I’ll Always Let You Down.

Using knowledge gained from research for his latest novel Reclaim the Night, Miller has made a series of large paintings based on the billboard information widely disseminated by the West Yorkshire Police to help catch the Yorkshire Ripper in 1978. The police campaign was founded on the belief that hoax letters and tapes sent to them by Wearside Jack, a North East man, who only recently was identified and convicted as John Samuel Humble. The poster incorporated samples of the hoaxer's writings as well as a telephone number to call in order to listen to his voice and a second number to call if you recognised either.

Some time after the Ripper was caught Miller came across one of these posters - the resultant decay, exposing other advertisements from that era, left the message changed, in some ways more poignant. Miller states "I’m not interested in serial killers per se, but it was like a collage of that whole time which I am interested in, and, as well as writing about it I always wanted to make some artwork from it too. I've always liked the weathered look of things, in that way these poster paintings are like the book paintings too, but more than that there was this faded poignancy: instead of saying ‘Help us stop the Ripper from killing again. West Yorkshire Police.’ it said ‘Help us stop killing again. West Yorkshire Police.’”

Miller achieved critical acclaim with his début novel, Slow Down Arthur, Stick to Thirty, (2000), the story of a kid who travels around Northern England with a David Bowie impersonator. In the same year he published a small novella, First I was Afraid, I was Petrified, based on the true story of a female relative with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, discovered when Miller came across a box full of Polaroid images she had taken of the knobs of a cooker. In 2001 Miller began producing the series of paintings based of the dust jackets of Penguin books, which are included in this exhibition. Miller was the Writer in Residence at the ICA , London for 2002 and over the course of his residence he programmed a number of events drawing from his experience in literature and fine art, which included a season devoted to the ongoing influence and legacy of Edgar Allen Poe.

Harland Miller was born in Yorkshire in 1964 and lives in London . From 1984- 1987 he studied at Chelsea College of Art followed by an MA at Chelsea College of Art from 1987-88.

Recent solo exhibitions include Siesta Forever - Come on and Sing My Song, The Fireplace Project, East Hamptons (2007), Dear Son, This is one of the last of my few remaining pre marital possessions - look after it won’t you, Love Dad, Marianne Boesky Gallery , New York (2005), To Jean, A Small Memento for a Great Effort, Love Alan, White Cube, London (2002).

Group exhibitions include You Dig The Tunnel, I’ll Hide The Soil, White Cube, Hoxton Square and Shoreditch Town Hall , London (2008), Royal Academy , London (2007, 2006, 2005), Kunsthalle, Mannheim (2004) and the ICA , London (1996).

Miller was artist in residence at ICA , London throughout 2002.

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