Seattle: In the Studio with Philip Miner

I recently stopped by the studio of Philip Miner, located just blocks away from one of Seattle's working waterfronts. On the way in, an elderly gentleman stopped me and asked if I might let him and his sister in because they wanted see the saw blade that almost killed him years ago. After they located the saw blade and chatted for a bit, Philip and I sat down and talked about his work, his move from New York to Seattle, and how location can influence work.  —Joey Veltkamp, Seattle contributor

JV: When talking about your process, a lot of it seems rooted in the question, "What possibilities still exist for abstraction?"
During the twentieth century, abstract painting often attempted to provide an aesthetic solution to particular problems. Some of those were political, some psychological, others phenomenological. I am interested in how that history can become a starting point for making pictures. I am asking how these particular types of images have potency today when I reuse these tropes in paintings. Not as indices.

JV: While your work in I AM HERE, MO FO! at SEASON is painting, you also do collage work. How do the two bodies connect?
The collage works and paintings are both ways I think about images. Perhaps one way to think about how they relate it is that I am interested in how images are used. On one hand I am involved with abstract painting and formal processes that speak to a specific history, where the on the other hand what I am interested in has more to do with the intersection of photography and painting.

JV: What are you thinking about these days?
I've been thinking about classicism actually. Greek idealism of the perfection of form. Picasso too. Mostly based on the advent of the exhibition here in Seattle, but also the use of collage and painting.

JV: Has relocating from New York to Seattle influenced your work?
I would say the most influential thing has been the change in the perspective of history. Everything in the West is so new, it's fascinating to see how the urban environment here has evolved. Things here have been built so quickly. There's a different speed of living here, and I suppose that transposes into how I am making my work here. It has also really shifted how I think about the relation of painted images and photographic ones, based on the time I spend now looking at artworks online. It has fueled my works on paper and the paintings to find a new place. What's funny is that nature hasn't really crept in much, even though I feel so close to it here. Perhaps that's what is next....

Philip Miner is currently on view in I AM HERE, MO FO! at SEASON in Seattle.

Joey Veltkamp is an artist/writer living in Seattle where he runs the local art blog, best of.

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