Minneapolis ceramicist and Kolman & Pryor Gallery artist, Ernest Miller, ushers in the holiday season at the gallery with a new collection of vases, cups, plates, bowls, teapots, and abstracted objects influenced by Midwestern rural heritage. The show, A-Traction, inspired by modern ideals and Miller’s appreciation of tradition, opens on December 4, 2015, and runs through January 2, 2016. A free opening reception will be held Friday, December 4, 7-10 p.m.
“My aesthetic comes from a philosophy of a needs society rather than a wants society,” Miller says. “In other words, objects around us should serve a need. That harkens back to our Midwestern roots. Architectural structures like barns and silos had a purpose. Equipment like a tractor serves a need. Designers who created these things are some of my favorite ‘artists.’ So I’ve taken these hearty design aesthetics and applied them to my work.”
Dedicated to moving forward while adhering to the region’s European immigrant past, Miller begins with traditional forms; he then re-imagines those forms with line, texture and color. As a result, his functional objects often bear sculptural qualities. For instance, Miller explains, “I may start with the form of a silo, but then take it into a curve and inject some design spontaneity, until the shape become unrecognizable.” Many of his works also reflect his love of the rural, Midwestern landscape.
“We’re excited to exhibit Ernest’s new works in forms that reflect his love of the rural Midwest,” says Patrick K. Pryor, curator and co-owner of Kolman & Pryor Gallery. “And yet, I feel his forms, while enticing, are secondary to the surface quality of his glazes. His virtuosity and tireless pursuit of near-perfection on the surface of his works are what makes him stand out among his contemporaries.”
Miller formerly worked in a studio located in the Northrup King Building, where the Kolman & Pryor Gallery is located, before moving to his current studio in North Minneapolis. “Ernest’s work is peerless in technique, ingenuity and aesthetic, so we were sad to see him leave the building,” says Anita Sue Kolman, co-owner of Kolman & Pryor Gallery. “But we’re thrilled to be representing Ernest, one of our former neighbors, in our gallery and continuing the artistic relationship in a new way.”
Miller earned his BA from Eastern Illinois University in 1998. He worked as a potter in Champaign, Illinois before moving to Minneapolis in 2000 to establish a studio and a busy exhibition and teaching schedule. His work has been exhibited in various regional and national art fairs including the Uptown Art Fair in Minneapolis, Minnesota and Plaza Art Fair in Kansas City, Missouri. He teaches at Fired Up Studios in Minneapolis, Minnesota and the Minnetonka Center for the Arts in Wayzata, Minnesota. In 2011 he was the recipient of a Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant.