DCCA News: Pursuing beauty


Upon entering the Anna Bier Gallery, one is immediately surrounded by beauty. Fiona Miller, the artist whose work is on display, says that she pursues beauty when choosing the subjects she celebrates. Fiona, who was born in the United Kingdom but now lives in Xenia, Ohio, has a degree in Architecture from Cambridge University as well as a postgraduate Diploma in the field, but now expresses her vision with watercolor, often paired with ink pen, creating vibrantly colored work that immediately entices and charms the viewer.

Although many of the works exhibited are architectural in nature, the mother of two says the she finds beauty in the everyday and often documents her offsprings’ childhood in watercolor “snapshots.” “In the Wildflowers” shows her son and daughter amid an explosion of color as they follow a path through a field of wildflowers. The youngsters are also depicted in “Spaceship Adventure at DAI,” delighting in art as they play on an outdoor sculpture at the Dayton Art Institute.

More examples of everyday beauty include “Derelict Short North,” depicting an abandoned Columbus warehouse shimmering in beautiful light, and “Main and Eighth,”a simple but commanding closeup of a glimmering orange apartment building in downtown Cincinnati. “Battery Row,” depicts an inviting doorway that has stood through turmoil and triumph, offering a timeless view that somehow expresses the essence of Charleston, South Carolina

“I try to capture the real thing, including the history and imperfections that provide depth and character to buildings and civilizations, ” Fiona says. While living in the U.K., Fiona helped restore churches, bringing new life to old buildings. “Building anew without losing the old is difficult,” she explained, but her love for that ideal can be seen in many of her paintings including one featuring London’s Big Ben towering behind another iconic symbol of the city, a red phone box, providing a nostalgic glimpse into British life. In another depiction of her homeland, a captivating study in light and shadow captures the stately grace of “Westminster Abby,” regally reveling in all its historic glory.

Many of her cityscapes include simple sketches of people, evoking a lively sense of vibrancy and bringing a human dimension to works such as “The Hermitage, St. Petersburg” in which powerful sculptures adorn a formidable golden arch. In “Piazza San Pietro, Rome,” the crowds around St. Peter’s Basilica add an air of accessibility to the imposing domed structure.

Each of the paintings on display has meaning for the artist, symbolizing part of her life experience. “St. John’s Gatehouse, Cambridge” pictures the intimidating yet welcoming portal through which Fiona passed each morning on her way to classes. As shadows on windows reflect the moody blue of the sky, “Cincinnati Skyline from I-75” offers an imposing look at a route oft-traveled while Fiona and her husband were living in Covington, Kentucky. “Financial District, San Francisco,” a view from above inspired by a flight in a friend’s small airplane provides an interesting perspective on the city. Another striking look at San Francisco, “Sunset on the Strait,” shows the rugged structure and landscape of the Golden Gate Bridge suffused in a soft light above the aqua and lavender sea.

“I find the space around me, people’s lives, and the buildings we inhabit to be worthy of reflection and celebration,” stated Fiona. Her ability to capture these elements with skill and warmth fulfills her goal to share with others the glimmers of beauty and redemption that she sees. You can bask in the beauty of this serene and lovely world; the exhibit of Fiona Miller’s work will remain on display at Anna Bier Gallery located within Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall through September 30. An opening night reception will be held in the Gallery on Saturday, September 9 from 6 to 8 p.m.; the Gallery is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and by appointment as well as during special events at Memorial Hall. For more information, or to arrange a tour at other times, contact Anna Bier Gallery Director Tamera McNulty at 937-564-5863.

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By Marilyn Delk

DCCA News

Marilyn Delk is a director of the Darke County Center for the Arts and can be reached at marilynd@bright.net. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.