Catherine Shuman Miller
Catherine Shuman Miller is a printmaker and painter. A number of her drawings and monoprints are in series of Mazes, although the title Circuits suggests a more technological meaning of the intricacy of circuit boards that run our computers and other devices. In both she develops great complexity by layering of linear and shaded shapes that are monochromatic or in a varied palette of colors. With the use of metaphoric titles, like Secret Sanctuary, the artist suggests retreat to a safe haven that represents a philosophical, rather than a physical, space. A monoprint is a one of a kind, hand-pulled print. The artist relayed this information about her process:
Each monoprint is very involved consisting of multiple plates. I make my plates in a variety of ways. Only a recent set of small prints were done with traditional copper and zinc; the rest are silk collagraphs (a labor intensive process using silkscreen silk, polystyrene and acrylic medium), carborundum plates (a combination of carborundum grit and acrylic medium painted on Plexiglas), and a variety of other non-traditional methods.
In a recent artist’s statement, Shuman Miller wrote:
In my Prints, I focus on the maze as a symbol. This body of work was initially inspired by the challenges foreign refugees face trying to establish political asylum upon arriving in the United States. They are navigating a bureaucratic system with legal and personal challenges much like entering a maze, often with no clear outcome. As in my mazes where there most often is no clear pathway, it is the process of layering which creates the fabric-like richness characteristic of my work.
This series also coincided with the death of my father, which occurred around the same time that I began this work. Working within the structure of the grid/maze was comforting and meditative. The repetition and set boundaries allow me freedom to explore layering and movement within the structure. Whether through the process of printmaking, drawing or painting, the grid as a point of departure gives me a formal structure in which to play. I am exploring the space through layering, variations in the tone, color, texture and rhythm of movement.
Shuman Miller also is the art teacher at the Kadimah Academy and the High School of Jewish Studies, and previously taught at the University at Buffalo, Buffalo State College, and Villa Maria College. She earned a B.F.A. from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (1981), M.F.A. from the University at Buffalo (1986), and studied at the Boston Museum School (1980) and Buffalo State College’s Department of Fashion Technology (2008-2009).
Since 1980, Shuman Miller’s work has exhibited her work nationally and internationally in both solo and group exhibitions throughout Western New York, as well as in Rochester, Toronto, New York City, Boston, Cleveland, Minneapolis, Dallas, Chicago, North Carolina, New Jersey and Israel. Her Contemporary Woodblock Prints were shown in 2014 at the Quick Center for the Arts at St. Bonaventure University. She also participated in the “Herd About Buffalo” public-art project sponsored by the Burchfield-Penney Art Center and Roswell Park Cancer Institute in 2000. Her work is included in several corporate and public collections including the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, the Jewish Center of Greater Buffalo, Saperston Financial, and Temple Beth Tzedek, Buffalo. She was a 2010 New York Foundation for the Arts MARK participant. Her work was published in the New Editions section of the May/June 2015 edition of Art in Print.