SHADOW CATCHERS EXHIBITION
In 1984 Garry Fabian Miller discovered a method of using a photographic enlarger that allowed a direct translation between plants and the photographic print. Later, in 1992, he turned to making abstract images in the darkroom, using only glass vessels filled with liquids, or cut-paper forms to cast shadows and filter light.
Many of his works explore the cycle of time over a day, month or year, through controlled experiments with varying durations of light exposure. His works are enriched by being seen in sequences that explore and develop a single motif and colour range. Often, the images are conceived as remembered landscapes and natural light phenomena.
At the heart of Fabian Miller’s vision is a belief in the contemplative existence of the artist, whose practice and life outside metropolitan culture are intertwined. The works he creates are simple, yet multi-layered – tranquil yet energised.
In photography as in photosynthesis, light plays a fundamental role in creation. This work was made using beech leaves gathered from late April to early June in the artist’s garden on Dartmoor. Each vertical line was printed on one day, with the time period increasing incrementally from one day between the first lines to around two weeks in the later stages.
Petworth House in West Sussex is famous for its long façade of windows facing the park and for the light-flooded watercolours painted by there Turner in the 1830s. Fabian Miller’s work also recalls Turner’s deathbed attempts to observe the light through his window and the latticed window of Lacock Abbey in Fox Talbot’s first photographic negative of 1835.
‘The pictures I make’, says Fabian Miller, ‘are of something as yet unseen, which may only exist on the paper surface, or subsequently may be found in the world. I am seeking a state of mind which lifts the spirit, gives strength and a moment of clarity.’
For the series Year One, Fabian Miller produced one work every day over the course of a year. At the end, he selected ninety-six of the images for a book. He divided them into twelve equal sections, titled according to the Celtic ‘Coligny’ calendar, one of the oldest of its kind, and chose one work – as shown here- to represent each month. The result is a sustained investigation into form and colour alongside the cycle of time.