Local artist Mike Miller is a super-prolific force. Possessing the work ethic of a 19th-century farmer, and a deep feeling for nature, Miller takes old farm machinery, discarded motors, gears, tree limbs, and hundred-pound rocks, then sculpts them into fully powered, automated works of art. These finished machines, combining man-made with nature, are both highly sophisticated and profoundly artful.
As you stand and gaze at the moving sculpture, you hear the whir and humming of the motorized gears at work. Two things happen almost simultaneously: The eyes become entranced by the strange moving parts as the mouth breaks into a satisfied smile. As you look at the pieces of steel, wood, and rock, you realize the warm humanity that exists in these hard surfaces.
I know Mike Miller personally as a kind and gentle man who would give a stranger the shirt off of his back. As I looked at his show I had to ask myself if what I felt for the work was because I know him the way I do, or if it simply evokes feelings of warmth and peace. It was then that I realized Miller’s work has become Miller, himself. These works are self-portraits of the man--brilliant, powered yet vulnerable, patinated, and completely at home on their own. Easily one of the best shows I have seen anywhere this year, Miller’s work awaits you at the ever important Wichita CityArts through August 25th.
If you go, take a child! A child will be equally fascinated!