Fantasy & War: The Work of Artist Deenagh Miller
Artist Deenagh Miller creates images that explore the macabre, the fantastical, and the horrific. She says, “Making images is a personal process which I choose to make public. When I paint and draw it is to engage myself and hopefully the spectator into feeling something.”
Her subjects vary, from rich, vibrant natural and manmade landscapes to shifting, phantasmagorical scenes. One of the most challenging subjects for the Bristol-based artist was her Images of War series, which highlighted the humanitarian plight of war-stricken countries.
These images are raw and often disturbing, confronting us with a little-seen reality of the modern world. “Because these paintings address humanitarian issues I think they are the most important works I have done to date. Painting them involved making choices, engaging with them and suspending the emotions at times,” Deenagh comments.
Other pictures seek to portray universal moments of life in countries we often associate with war and oppression, such as her recent oil painting depicting three women in burqas with a small child. “On the surface it seems such a peaceful everyday subject – women and children together, but they live in consent fear, and you can’t see this except possibly in the child’s apprehensive expression. Painting the figures was a challenge, not being able to see who you are painting creates an odd sense of emptiness, yet I knew there were women there and somehow a landscape of colour and warmth crept in.”
Deenagh’s work is diverse in both subject and medium. In contrast to the large, oil paintings confronting us with horrific scenes of suffering are smaller and beautifully intricate images of tress and flora in charcoal, pastel and ink. This contrast is not lost on Deenagh, who comments, “Looking at trees and hearing the birds is completely absorbing – I never cease to be amazed by them or how lucky I am to have that just outside where I live. It raises such complex issues and makes me aware of the horrors going on elsewhere in the world.”
To view more of Deenagh’s work, or learn more about her incredible Images of War series, visit her website at deenaghmiller.co.uk