Joshua Liner Gallery is pleased to present S W I R L, an exhibition of new watercolor works on paper by San Francisco-based artist Serena Mitnik-Miller. This is the artist’s second solo exhibition with the gallery after a year exhibiting both nationally and internationally in California and Japan. The artist will be in attendance for the opening reception on Thursday, February 19, 2015.
With not much more than a faint pencil guide by the artist’s own hand, Mitnik-Miller’s use of pattern and repetition is a core element explored in the artist’s latest series. Mitnik-Miller explains, “The initial line work of pencil drawing guides the formal process, but there’s no finite plan… each color is based on the previous color used. It’s about the process, too, so I’m flexible with where it leads me.” The artist begins this pattern with a base color, and proceeds to dilute the pigment to create lighter, inner bands of color. This tonal spectrum is then repeated with the original color, resulting in compositions that are striking, meditative, and balanced.
Initially undertaking studies in marine science, it’s no secret that Mitnik-Miller has a profound affinity for nature: “There’s something so powerful about nature, it’s what makes me thrive. In my life I’ve spent time in different places and the times I feel most rejuvenated and connected is when I’m deeper in nature, away from the material world. Even though my work is abstract and not a literal sense of nature, it remains my biggest influence, which translates to my work.” Although nature may not be present in representational form, it is at the forefront of the artist’s inspiration for all aspects of her work, and life.
The primary medium for Mitnik-Miller’s work is watercolor. In one piece, the ocean-like, blue tones of the pigment, along with the pattern’s rhythmic, ebb and flow is reminiscent of tides moving in and out across the paper. Other works play with light stone grays and burnt umber, their curved bands of color resembling inner tree rings or layers of the earth. The soft greens and pale yellow bands of another work travel around the page and re-join, curving in and out like a twisted forest vine. The artist’s love of watercolor and the varying degree of precision the medium allows, mirrors the changeable, unpredictability of our natural surroundings.
In contrast to earlier works based on literal representations of nature—such as leaves, waves, and water drops—the works in S W I R L began an experimentation further focusing on abstraction and less so with a true-to-life depiction of nature. Ultimately, Mitnik-Miller’s interest remains on the repetition of simple forms and shapes, and their interaction on paper: “This show is an exploration of color and linear formations. No two works are alike. I continue to push the boundaries of where this will take me until it leads me in a new direction.”