Rob Miles is an artist and musician, born in London in 1987, living and working in Paris. He makes drawings, lithographs, and paintings, and writes songs which he performs with his band, Rob Miles & Les Clés Anglaises
“Rob Miles makes drawings from observation and imagination, playing with the language of line to devise or deny an image. He describes his drawing process as a visual note taking, a subjective shorthand employed to outline a sensation or translate a seen experience. These fragmented glimpses in non-dimensional space call to mind the intriguing abstraction of decontextualised information, such as the remnants of a semi-erased chalkboard, a diagram without its key, or a found shopping list.
His work references both picture making from antiquity and the desktop iconography of our present day, these influences being further indexed through the medium of lithography, where drawings are made on and printed from a stone tablet.”
Contact : firstname.lastname@example.org
MA Fine Art Printmaking – The Royal College of Art 2013 – 2015
BA Fine Art: Print & Time Based Media, Wimbledon College of Art, UAL. 2010 – 2013
Teacher! There’s Too Much To Learn… Galerie Premier Regard, Paris
The World Is So Small It’s Enormous. Reid Hall, Paris
RA Summer Exhibition, London
The Ruth Borchard Collection: The Next Generation. Piano Nobile, London
SUBJECT MATTER. Benevolent Association of Excellent Solutions, London
FOLD> Portfolio. Impact 9 Print conference, Hangzhou, China
PR!NT: Art in Print Today. La Cambre Galerie, Brussels
SHOW 2015: Royal College of Art Degree Show, London
Griffin Gallery Open. London
Ruth Borchard Self Portrait Prize. Kings Place London, travelling to Pallant House, Chichester
Objects of. RCA printmaking show. CPG London: Café Gallery
Draw The Curtains. Group show, curator and exhibitor. DIG Space Lewisham
Yesterday’s Wrong Thinking. RCA printmaking show. CPG London: Café Gallery
‘No More Heroes’ print displayed in Hayward Gallery shop during INVISIBLE, Art About the Unseen, exhibition
Anthony Dawson Young Printmaker Award – Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers, 2015
Ruth Borchard Self Portrait Prize, 2015 – work purchased for Next Generation Collection
Pig Prints Drawing & Etching International Student Prize, 2015
My artistic practice is rooted in drawing, which I work from to make lithographs and paintings. I make drawings from observation and imagination, aiming to maintain a balance between the figurative and abstract. I am particularly interested in doubles, deletions and glimpses, and the illusion of dimension within drawing. Playing with the language of line and its possibility to both describe shape and space and deny it, I enjoy the conjuring of an image, the poetic trigger of a incomplete figure, and the untranslatable sensation of mark making. I am greatly inspired by well established artists such as David Hockney, Philip Guston and Cy Twombly, yet equally by the incidental drawing of the everyday – the whitewashed windows of ever-changing city interfaces, the juxtaposition of image and surface in advertising posters and the scuffs, scratches and debris of urban life, as well as the graphic communication prevalent in our understanding of things, such as scientific illustration, maps, diagrams, floor-plans, and flowcharts.
I take these ideas into the world of colour in two parallel directions: painting and printmaking. Through painting, mostly with oil on board, the added element of consistency influences the fluidity of gesture and legibility of the figure. An aspect of movement and alteration is introduced, as the process allows for the addition and removal of substance, building a thickness of colour or leaving just the remnant of an idea. Although not as immediate as drawing, for me the act of painting is relatively quick, prompting present moment decisions, letting the composition be brought into being through sensation and intuition.
Conversely, but not conflicting with this quickness, my engagement with the lithographic process is one of slowing the images down, taking a drawing through a somewhat lengthy procedure and hoping to maintain it’s freshness throughout the various stages of production. By taking the original drawing and mentally de-constructing it into possible layers and colours, I find the attempt to build the drawing through the negative and reversal process inherent of stone lithography incredibly stimulating, and one which breeds ideas and new compositions. The physicality of the production, with it’s amalgamation of grease, water, stone, gum and acid, and the resulting compression of layers of ink into one flat surface is fascinating, and contributes greatly to the dialogue of the drawing.
It is through lithography in particular that my philosophical, historical and political dimension of my work becomes most relevant. I draw inspiration from both picture-making from antiquity and the computer desktop graphics of our present culture. I enjoy the comparisons between the flattened dimensionality of ancient Egyptian drawing, Roman mosaics, Japanese Ukiyo-e (‘pictures from the floating world’), Persian miniatures, Mediaeval illuminated manuscripts, decorative Chinese screens, Greek vases, celestial charts and early cartography, with our current digital screens, ripe with skeuomorphic iconography which we often take for granted as we swipe through our phones or navigate the information on our interfaces. I feel it is appropriate, if not fundamental, to engage with the obvious visual references from this pictorial history with the slowness of a craft technique, less obvious in our world of speed and efficiency. By introducing a temporal limitation, one can channel the patience required in the production of the image and can also exploit the idiosyncrasies of the hand made image. Lithography in particular requires an engagement of the eye, mind and hand, along with precise technical learning, and an involvement with elemental materials. Furthermore, the analogue of the stone tablet as a matrix in lithography resonates with both ancient drawing and writing tools and modern day information devices.
What I feel I am lacking in my own practice to date, and what my attention is now turned towards, is the subject matter itself. Having developed a certain vocabulary of drawing, and a conceptual foundation to the choices made in the image production, I would like to introduce more specific themes or narratives, through which to apply my methodology.
The first step in this direction was my most recent project, Dear Crocodile, a series of black and white lithographs based on a set of letters written to a crocodile in le Jardin des Plantes. Not only did this force me to engage with the basics of drawing through lithography by eliminating the colour and layering possibilities, but it introduced a central theme which allowed me to reference the narrative content of the above mentioned artworks from ancient cultures, with their mythologies, spirituality and folkloric content.
After this progressive step towards an integrated subject matter I am beginning a new project based on spaces of information, transformation and creation: classrooms, theatres, workshops, museums, market places and recreation spaces. Places where images and ideas come and go, where objects and figures transact and interact. This specificty addressed in my flattened and diagrammatic language, allows for a focused framework through which anything and everything can be manifested and manipulated.