17.75 × 23.25 in
Miller & Shellabarger have been performing and making art together and separately for decades. Their intimate explorations of human, LGBTQ, and “Bear” cultures center around their own emotional, physical, sexual, and social relationship. These two print sets (which are more acuratley described as artists’ books in that their optimum function is to be handled in a variable sequence) use various stencils that Miller & Shellabarger have used as templates for other paper cutting and installation pieces. The prints illuminate the very complex dance between the two artists as they explore the choreography of both symbolic emotional entanglement and physical and sexual intimacy.
The titles of the portfolios/books use terminology from quantum mechanics to convey the strength of the invisible forces at play in any human relationship. While the prints are stunning in any gallery installation they come to life as one pages through the portfolio angling the prints in different degrees so as to reveal the myriad compositional possibilities that reveal themselves as the light hits the prints from different angles. This necessary interaction demands a level of visceral intimacy from the viewer engaging the reader in an elegant dance with the prints which evokes Miller & Shellabarger’s own life dance.
Miller & Shellabarger began work on these books quite by chance. Shellabarger had been serving as the ‘master’ printer to various artists with whom he invited to print and in that time became acquainted with the Vandercook letterpress. Both realized they had a trove of stencils that should be used to produce pressure prints on the Vandercook. Conceptually, it made sense to utilize the stencils from their garlands and veils to produce layered prints. Some playful, others more suggestive, but all make reference to the figure and the absence of their physical bodies. Bold and hazy, like shadows they reference, these prints make physical the light and play of shadows. White light is turned into prismatic colors of ink. These colors, along with the shimmering metallics, complement and compete for compositional dominance. The rich textural surfaces reveal and obscure what lays upon each page.