Plan For Another Undoing, Pencil, watercolor, and chocolate on paper. 40″ x 5o.5″, $2000.


Plan For An Undoing: New Drawings by Douglas Miller

Review by Keith Waits

Entire contents copyright © 2015 Keith Waits. All rights reserved.

Douglas Miller has found pleasure in drawing since he was a child. That pleasure is still there, clearly evident in the luxurious mark-making characteristic of his work in recent years: a bestiary of birds, horses, dogs, big cats, and bears that satisfy both traditional and modern tastes. The warmth and detail of the rendering is of a quality that could qualify Miller as something of a naturalist, yet the intentional unfinished aspect of the work invites the viewer to speculate at a deeper level than simple zoological fascination.

In his new exhibit at The Green Building Gallery, most of the work consists of pairings of mirror image drawings; one will be more or less completed, while the other is not. But whereas so much of Miller’s output in the last five years or so has appeared as if the artist had left off somewhere in the process, with lines and marks suggesting the remaining composition, here the missing sections are not unfinished but given specific, reductive intention.

A leopard is depicted as cozy as a house cat resting on a sofa, but still capturing the sense of power in repose we might expect from a big cat; but in its twin we find the torso has been sliced away to expose the interior of the form as a hollow shell, while the soft cheeks and jowls of the head have ben peeled back to reveal a scaffold-like series of lines supporting the dimensional drawing. Instead of bones and sinew, the organic structures are replaced by man-made construction.

Peacock 1

How to Define You,
Pencil, watercolor, and make-up on paper.
32 1/4″ X 40″ $1400

Peacock 2

How to Define Yourself.
Pencil, watercolor, make-up on paper.
32 1/4″ X 40″, $1200










Miller has always used such lack of visual resolution to invite the viewer into an understanding of his process, and now he seems to be introducing a note of self-aware post-modern commentary into what had previously been something of a void. The metaphorical substructure of the artistic process is made manifest. In another pair of drawings of a peacock, the scaffold, suggesting a contrast between the delicacy of the nearly weightless feathers and the rigid, load-bearing structure, essentially replaces the tail feathers.

Conventional wisdom would have us accept the more traditionally finished drawings as more satisfying, but in each combination it is the unresolved piece that is the most compelling, and all the more for being juxtaposed as a pair. The more completed images are exemplary in their craftsmanship, but the intellectual lure of the ‘undone’ examinations is undeniably intoxicating – an invitation to journey behind the curtain.

All of it translates into a mystery posed for the viewer, and the impact of the combination of cerebral and visceral makes Miller’s work highly engaging. The humanity of the craft and subject matter is so accessible that it is only upon reflection that the depth of the artist’s concerns becomes clear.

Plan For An Undoing: New Drawings by Douglas Miller

August 3 – September 18, 2015

The Green Building Gallery
732 East Market Street
Louisville, KY 40202


Keith[box_light]Keith Waits is a native of Louisville who works at Louisville Visual Art during the days, including being one of the hosts of PUBLIC on ARTxFM, but spends most of his evenings indulging his taste for theatre, music and visual arts. His work has appeared in Pure Uncut Candy, TheatreLouisville, and Louisville Mojo. He is now Managing Editor for[/box_light]