Wednesday, January 26, 2005

The work in various painting media of Fairmont native Richard Kidwell Miller will be on exhibit Feb. 3-25 in the Brooks Gallery of Fairmont State's Wallman Hall.

The artist will present a lecture about his work at the opening reception from 7-9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 3. The exhibition is free and open to the public.

Miller received his early education in art with teachers Ernest B. and Martha Himlich Freed at the Fairmont Art Center, funded by the Works Progress Administration. The young boy who began his studies here soon moved with his family to Washington, D.C., where he encountered for the first time the great museums of that city. Soon, Miller's work was included in area exhibitions and won awards. By 1947, Miller was exhibiting his work in most of the juried shows in the Washington area. In February of that year, Miller was given his first one-man show at Fairmont State. There, 11 of his portraits were displayed for the admiration of viewers, many of them former neighbors and friends.

As Miller progressed in his training and moved to New York where he lives today, his paintings took on a variety of aspects and subjects. Never one to allow one style to define him, Miller explored realism, abstraction, collage, portraiture, still-life and constructed works. The scale of his work varied as well: huge still-life compositions that challenged the very nature of the subject and exquisitely layered canvas on canvas and wood on canvas structures that cross the border between traditional painting and relief sculpture. As his work matured, so did Miller's abilities as a teacher. He still teaches at the JCC of Mid-Westchester, N.Y.

Beyond his work in the visual arts, Miller also performed in musicals on Broadway and was active as well in straight plays as an actor. It was during his first professional show that Miller met his wife, Teresa Robinson Miller, who is also a singer. The couple appeared in many productions together.

The expanse of Miller's life and work are presented in the catalogue of the Miller Exhibition presented at the West Virginia Libraries West Virginia Historical Collection, "Richard Kidwell Miller," written by John A. Cuthbert, curator of the exhibition. It is through arrangements made with West Virginia University and John A. Cuthbert that this exhibition is possible.

Regular gallery hours are Mondays through Fridays from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Special viewing arrangements outside these hours may be made by calling Curator Marian J. Hollinger at (304) 367-4300 or e-mailing her at mhollinger@fairmontstate.edu.