“One ought to hold on to one’s heart, for if one lets it go, one soon loses control of the head too.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
In art, the notion of control is a quaint one. An artist must cultivate technical mastery and control over their work. Chaos is a tricky device but seen as an element of vitality in an artwork. Last January 23rd, AF came to view the watercolors done by San Francisco based artist, Serena Mitnik-Miller, for her show INBETWEEN. Her work embodied the crisp lines of control using a medium that is by far the most difficult to contain – watercolor.
By nature, watercolor runs on the surface and once the tip of the brush touches the paper, it is like Russian roulette where an artist hopes that the results are close to what is expected. This is what I experienced during my Fine Art classes that watercolor is the most volatile of all mediums to work with as it seems to have a mind of its own. Most of the works on paper are multi-colored lines that shape into forms and make patterns. One saw Mitnik-Miller’s curved and straight lines as perfectly done and congruent in every aspect. The bands of color are distinct and there seems to be no error in application. A quick glance of bleed free lines just makes the work initially simple and clean. Where are the artistic strokes of fancy? It is there but it needs more scrutiny for one to scratch the surface.
Upon peering closer, the band is not shaded the same way throughout. There are gradient varieties of intensity in color as it fluctuates from saturated to barely a wisp. It is apparent that Mitnik-Miller has tremendous control to keep this effect all throughout. It is all at once mind blowing and a testament to technical mastery of the medium. This is where her art gains complexity and texture. There may be no mistakes in between the lines but the execution is far from mundane.
The physical control must be developed over countless brush strokes and patience in honing the right application. Her artistic heart comes into play with how each piece pulsated color in varying degrees. Control and letting go had a perfect balance in her latest oeuvre. Nothing is left to chance or in between states of indecision. It is exactly what she intended it to be – crisp, clear and full of hearty cheer.
Serena Mitnik-Miller: INBETWEEN / On View: Jan. 23 – Feb. 22, 2014
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday (11 am to 6 pm)
Joshua Liner Gallery. 540 West 28th Street. NYC, NY 10001
Art Review by: Oscar A. Laluyan
Select Art Images from Joshua Liner Gallery courtesy of the artist
Photography by: Olya Turcihin