It’s About Time
by Suzanne Volmer
During a visit to Nathan Miner’s Somerville studio located near the intellectual epicenter of Harvard and MIT, the artist described his paintings as being about time. He is interested in the aesthetics of inversion, and his painterly content has a geometric push and pull against equilibrium that addresses the space-time continuum. Miner’s premise is particularly apropos considering the announcement in the news of folds recently discovered in the spatial fabric.
While discussing his artwork, Miner brought out some books that have influenced his creative development: Fritjof Capra’s “The Tao of Physics,” Stephen Hawking’s “Brief History of Time” and “The Book” by Alan Watts. He cited these texts as furthering a larger discussion about layers of information in his artwork. Miner’s paintings and related artifacts can be seen in “Decade,” a solo exhibit through April 22 at Boston’s Rafius Fane Gallery, and in “Groundswell,” a group exhibition (that includes his “Entanglement” painting) at The Art Museum of the University of New Hampshire through April 3.
Miner’s work draws upon the idea of optical illusion manipulating perception of light and space. His paintings seemingly distort, compress and channel energy in a visual language that is an exploration of particle physics. His work has a sophistication of color directed against a grid of vast, shifting internal perspective organized to appear as warped space. There is a sense of immersive drama conveyed for audiences.
Typically more than 20 or 30 layers of information per painting build into Miner’s refined and explosive subject matter. Photoshop technology was used to facilitate the layering of collected image brackets, and soft washes of veiled color were applied to paper using ink jet printing to create sheer color blooms as departure points. Next, he adhered paper to aluminum backing so that his complex process of painting on ground could proceed. A single artwork can take up to a year to complete, and Miner usually has more than one painting in development at a time. “Decade” is a culminating exhibit as well as an inventive show.