Dominic Paul Miller

I grew up in Phoenix, Arizona. My experience there has continued to influence the ways I make work and what interests me about being an artist. I worked a lot as a land surveyor which took me to remote places in the region, but also exposed me to the construction industry which was thriving there during the 90's. Monuments and landmarks in their many forms continue to push me towards questions about the making of things. In particular I'm very concerned with Land Art as a parallel to western expansion. The exotic and often barren geographies of the West are coincidentally prone to violent infrastructures. The wall along the Mexico-U.S. border is a good example. Others such as nuclear waste sites and proving grounds are also important.

In my most recent works I am handling these issues through the figure of an "exclosure," similar in ways to the metaphorical drain introduced by Sergio Gonzalez Rodriguez in his writings about Juarez and its border. An exclosure prevents certain things from accessing an interior setting; often browsing cattle are prevented from destroying delicate riparian habitats. My recent sculptures have functioned similarly through systematic operations which limit or condense passages of material or bodies within their respective environments. In one instance a sculpture draws in seawater and precipitates salt compounds through solar heat. In the other, a solar powered lightbox and vitrine are merged to occupy various street corners or empty lots. Both confront their settings through a negotiation of matter and substance. The sculptures simultaneously perform as they occupy an area. As monuments they also render visible what is generally made apparent by other channels such as popular media. Meanwhile the sculptures' circular engagement of space opens visibility, itself, to greater ambiguity.

Sponsored by GSA and UCSD Vis Arts