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Jan Patience: Doos and don’t miss… A view on Lewis Miller’s art

Miller’s art interacts with the gallery’s architecture
Miller’s art interacts with the gallery’s architecture

In the early days of the pandemic, a group called View From My Window appeared online. Started by Amsterdam-based artist Barbara Duriau, it now has 3.1 million members.

Duriau felt a deep desire to connect people visually and her idea was simple; every picture tells a story and stories take us out of our day-to-day lives.

Walking into Lewis Miller’s new exhibition, Curtains, at The Modern Institute’s Bricks Space on Airds Lane, Glasgow, I was transported back to these strange days of early 2020 and reminded of the importance of a view from a window.

This tiny space has been transformed by nine of Miller’s oil paintings. They nestle into window frames on walls and ceiling. One, of an open wooden door, has been slotted into the door frame which usually leads into an adjacent gallery space.

It felt like being inside a lightbox or a small chapel. After rushing around the city centre on a busy Saturday, it took me a few minutes to adjust to this sepulchre-like space.

Miller’s paintings can be viewed as sources of light or simply as paintings. Like stained glass created with oil paint.

Lewis Miller

Two linked works are divided by a brick corner and depict the bottom half of a male figure holding a shop-bought bouquet of flowers. Above our heads, a skylight painting, Don’t These City Lights Bring Us Together, ripples like the translucent surface of water. Pigeons, close to home features doos at roost and in flight. Two pigeons at the centre perch on a makeshift wall; the watchers being watched.

Miller graduated from Glasgow School of Art in 2014 and lost work in the first fire in the Mackintosh Building. The fire changed his life – and career – when he received a Phoenix Bursary which took him to Berlin to study.

He has now settled in the German capital and made these beautiful works in his studio there. One to watch.

Until June 18.

Glasgow School of Art graduate Douglas Gordon was the first video artist to win the Turner Prize. There is currently a rare opportunity to get up close to Gordon’s film work in a gallery setting at DCA, Dundee.

The film, k364, follows two Israeli musicians of Polish descent on a train journey across Europe, through landscapes which their families fled in 1939. It is shown alongside 32 connected works, Dark Burnt Scores, partially and wholly burnt pages of scores played by the musicians in concert.