Emerging Artists: Hilton Miller
At The Dock in Carrick on Shannon
My father, Hilton Miller (www.hiltonmiller.com), was a remarkable but hermetic painter who exhibited just once in 2011 before he died in 2012 after more than 40 years painting. Originally a theoretical mathematician his work was obsessed with colour relationships, and while it hangs on an armature of landscape painting, they are intense experiments with colour. In this show, Alice Lyons has curated a selection of his Irish and French landscapes alongside his intense colour diagrams and notations.
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I was born on 6 August 1915 in the village Wilczyce, near Sandomierz, in central Poland. Shortly after graduating from high school in 1933, I married Władysław Malanowski, with whom I had two children. In 1939 my husband was drafted into the Polish army. He escaped from Poland after it was occupied by the German and Soviet armies and eventually found his way to France, where he joined other Polish troops who were continuing the fight against Germany. He was killed in Burgundy in June 1940. My children and I spent the period of the German occupation with my parents in Wilczyce. The house was full of war refugees. Among them was my cousin George Wolff, the noted painter and art critic. I began to study watercolour and tempera painting under his direction. That was my only school of painting. By August 1944 the front had reached us and we found ourselves on the Soviet side. The entire population was evacuated. We left Wilczyce, for ever as it turned out, because the communist authorities took away my parents home. All my paintings were lost during the evacuation. I then stayed with my parents and children in Sandomierz, where I worked as an accountant. Professional work and childcare left very little time for my artistic interests. When the children grew up and moved to Warsaw, I became interested in the art of weaving. In the early seventies, I decided to try my hand at embroidery and have remained faithful to it for more than forty years now. I regularly spend several hours a day embroidering. Based on my experience, I wish that all of you in old age you can devote yourselves to creative work, as I do with embroidery, which gives me so much joy and keeps me in good physical and mental condition, in spite of my age – over 97 years old.
‘Hilton Miller (1931- 2012) began painting in the early 1970s after walking away from a growing academic career as a statistician at Cambridge and Birkbeck College at the University of London. He had been highly regarded for coming up with some significant mathematical “pearls” and solutions, and co-writing a book The Theory of Stochastic Processes that is still a bench line text in it’s field. He became uncomfortable with the pressure to “publish or perish” believing that publication should follow discovery of a true ‘pearl” rather than a need to fuel academia. He left to become a consultant statistician for the Insurance industry and began drawing and painting. As his interest grew, he began to work part-time to enable him to devote himself to painting. His approach to art mirrored the purity of his understanding of mathematics, not seeking a ‘career’ which he felt would disturb and interfere with the crucible of true discovery in the studio, but to work with reserved and persistent dedication towards silent painted solutions. His somewhat unorthodox, quiet and hermetic way of life was made possible through the support of Riva, his wife, who lives and works with parallel vigour in the outer world.’ - From an introduction to a catalogue of Hilton Miller’s work written by his son, painter Nick Miller
‘Through the acts of both drawing and painting, (where both are held up as equal in value), Renata Mooney strives for a deeper and truer understanding of both the world around her and who she is. Her life and insights are reflected within what she draws and paints. Renata Mooney’s work shows ongoing concerns through a developed and extended means of application. We are made aware of her joy and rigour in the use of paint. The experiences of a long life and alertness to the present surface through an open involvement, which allows for changes and alterations. She is at home with taking risks and experimentation, knowing it aids development and opens the possibility of arriving at truth – because truth in seeing, feeling and doing matter and invest the works with a quality to be felt and to last. Renata Mooney works with great determination, in a disused garage at the rear of her house in Annalong, County Down. Each day is a fresh start - a new beginning.’ - From an introduction to a catalogue of Renata Mooney’s work written by painter Paddy McCann
For me it was always either words or paint. But the words took over, for one reason and another, and so instead of going to art school, I went to university and wandered off for the next twenty-five years down a vaguely academic path that took me into publishing, editing, history, and biography, wondering all the time what I would do when I grew up. If writing belonged to my head, painting belonged to my heart. I kept returning to painting the landscapes which were closely bound up with my sense of home and belonging in County Mayo, and which had helped me through some very dark periods in the 1980s. But when I came to a halt in the writing, and turned back to the landscapes at the end of the last century, I found that they had lost their sense of nourishment, and seemed like empty stages, waiting for something to happen. I didn’t know how to make it happen, so I went back to school and took a degree in Fine Art from GMIT at Castlebar Campus. It was during my studies for the degree that I came unexpectedly, and by uncertain steps, to portrait painting. Two important influences shaped the form the portraits took; the first was the great Lucian Freud retrospective in 2002, the second was a trip to Brussels to look at early Flemish painters. Since graduating in 2006 my work has been selected for the prestigious BP Portrait Award exhibition, from a worldwide entry, and for the Davy Portrait Award exhibition, open to Irish artists. In 2011 my portrait Nicola 2009’ won the Changing Faces Award at the Royal Society of Portrait Painters in London, a major award, and in 2012 I was invited to show the result of the prize: my commissioned portrait of Simon Weston. Since 2004 I have exhibited consistently at the RHA, where I have been the recipient of the Jorgensen Fine Art Award. I paint portraits to commission and by my own selection.