Shayna Miller is a New Jersey based artist. She received her BA from Drew University with majors in art and art history and minors in comparative religion and medieval studies. She was awarded the Stanley Prescott Hooper Memorial Prize in 2019 for promise and integrity in studio art. Her work is in the collection of Drew University as well as numerous private collections. Her body of work explores her relationship to mysticism and the body, as well as an interest in process as ritual through painting and sculpture.
Double click image for fullscreen, hover for info
My work explores the notion of work through an exploration of religious practices that are meant to produce an effect. Rituals are a set of actions, often orderly, regular, and with purpose. The studio is the site of my personal investigations into ideas related to rituals. This entails the creation of boundaries and rules that I have chosen to abide by, a search for a solution through the obsessive nature of the process. Working primarily in oil paint, forms can easily be manipulated, subtracted, and altered. Actions of scrubbing and dragging paint across panel surfaces become an intimate and physical action of embodiment; the painting becomes body. Some works directly explore the body's ability to perform work, such as the painting titled Eruv that refers to the symbolic extension of the private world into the public for Orthodox Jews. This extension allows them to perform work normally forbidden on the Sabbath.
The process of creating that painting is also visibly repetitive in nature. My work is a vehicle for transformation, invoking powers of transubstantiation, through references to compositional devices employed in early modern religious and icon painting. The process involves channeling my personal experiences and emotions in order to reach into spiritual dimensions to retrieve new forms and images. Paintings become capsules and cross-sections; they both contain and release talismanic energy, during and after their creation.