Hummingbirds are “The Flying Jewels,” handled as both surreal and natural phenomena, in a show of monotypes and paintings by Stacey D. Miller at Paseo Originals Art Gallery. The Oklahoma City artist offers viewers selections from her “Natural Impressions” and “Evanescence” series of monotypes, and a third “Bird-Brained Barbie” series of paintings.
Rich yet subtle color and printmaking finesse combine with the nearly irresistible appeal of her avian subjects in the more realistic “Natural Impressions” series, which is in some ways the most memorable.
A greenish-yellow hummingbird with raised wings takes a “Detour” toward a red-orange oak leaf, while shades of “Rose” suffuse her monotype of the same bird on a branch in two of the best works from the series.
Pale plant and branch silhouettes have a negative image quality, interacting with rose-tan, green, yellow, blue and brownish hues, in such works from the series as “Soliloquy,” “Transition,” “Hover” and “Aurora Borealis.”
Hummingbirds, and especially their heads, seem ready for their close-ups, in several smaller works from her “Evanescence Series,” inspired by a grandmother's death in 2009. A bit more surreal and symbolic is a larger monotype called “Winged Victory,” in which exaggerated tree branches link images of a bird's tail and a human nose and lips, in boxes.
Miller separates her imagery into vertical rectangular shapes, broken up by white backgrounds, in two even larger monotypes from the “Evanescence Series.” In one, hummingbirds are “Besieged By (The) Passion” of crimson blossoms, and in the other, a hummingbird presides over an “Odyssey” of flowers on branches, portrayed in a fashion reminiscent of Oriental Brushwork.
Most surrealistic of all, and nearly bizarre yet intriguing, are an acrylic and an oil painting of nude human figures with arbitrary, almost collagelike bird heads from the “Bird-Brained Barbie Series.”
A nude, bird-headed woman, on a round, prickly purple seat, seems trapped in her own limbo-like “Soul Asylum,” despite a sculptural open door, inviting her to join a bird on the wing outside it, in the acrylic.
Strange, too, and bordering on fantasy, is Miller's oil of two nude, bird-headed, “Star Crossed” ballet dancers, holding a difficult pose, their muscular bodies emerging dramatically from the dark background.
The Miller exhibit is highly recommended during its run through Dec. 2, along with a show of modern neo-primitive jewelry by Zeke and Marty Zewick of Edom, Texas. Miller will offer a painting demonstration from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday. A reception is planned from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Nov. 30.
— John Brandenburg