Trent Miller

Much of my recent work is informed by Emery Blagdon’s work and, more specifically, his sculptures that he called “healing machines.” Blagdon believed that his Healing Machines generated an electromagnetic energy that could alleviate pain and prevent—and perhaps even cure—disease.The Blagdon-related paintings contain a central scaffolding or armature, which may resemble a tower, circus tent, bird cage, head or beehive. These structures exist somewhere between a living thing and a machine—not totally organic and not totally machine, not fully abstract and not completely representational either.

My newest paintings and drawings can feel clunky, playful and even a bit nostalgic. Taking cues from children’s drawings, travel photos, memories, the subconscious and movies, as well as the history of painting, I use free association to explore the splintered narratives that can exist together in a space. This involves creating and destroying multiple layers until a final, unexpected image comes to the surface. I compare this process to making something from scraps without any instruction manual. The results appear loose and open, as if the images or narratives are still being formed.