Sunday, November 22, 2015

Essay'd: Adam Lee Miller

(originally published 11/22/15 in Essay'd)

The Oasis Motel, a meticulous 2008 depiction of a shuttered motor lodge arrayed beneath a sky bruised by an inky, foreboding blackness, marks Adam Lee Miller’s return to painting after a nearly decade-long hiatus. The intervening years were all but consumed by ADULT., the electro band that he and his wife Nicola Kuperus formed in the late ’90s that catapulted them to the forefront of a thriving, transatlantic underground music scene. But before he ever picked up a synth or programmed a drum machine, Miller was a painter, and The Oasis Motel marks a return to purely visual expression that he describes as a necessary corrective to the monomania of the music business: “We’re multidisciplinary artists,” he says, “and ADULT. was getting to be too much of one discipline.” As the inaugural entry in a growing body of new work, The Oasis Motel typifies some of Miller’s key thematic and formal concerns, while also functioning as a point of departure for the continued refinement of his evolving visual universe: an elegant, everyday place that’s at once familiar and strange, inviting and unsettling, and that is indelibly inscribed by the artist’s droll gallows humor and refined, Mannerist style.