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  • Harland Miller’s ACE forms part of his series titled Letter Paintings, which features short, punchy words or acronyms made up of no more than four letters, such as ‘UP’, ‘IF’, ‘HELL’ and ‘BOSS’. First shown at the artist’s 2017 White Cube exhibition, the Letter Paintings build on Miller’s Penguin Book Cover series, and the works similarly resemble the covers of vintage books. However, rather than placing witty spins on classic literary titles, the focus of this series is the individual letters themselves. Depicted in bold, highly saturated colours, with each letter layered one on top of the other, Miller deconstructs everyday words and creates almost-kaleidoscopic abstract designs.


    Miller cited both medieval illuminated manuscripts and the graphics of post-war psychology publications as crucial inspirations for the making of ACE. The over-laying of common symbols is reminiscent of Jasper Johns’ Numbers series, and the influence of Robert Rauschenberg and Ed Ruscha can be felt in Miller’s use of text motifs and vernacular signage to blur the boundary between high and low culture. Using a range of typefaces, Miller isolates, overlays, and reconnects the letters, disrupting the text’s formation of familiar, simple words and creating new compositions. In doing so, he brings a Pop Art sensibility to traditional lettering, and celebrates the form and structure of seemingly mundane words.
    '[these works hail] from that very particular, positive,
    post-war era when information was being made more available and being hungered for, too. It was often practical and pre-jargon and to do with fixing things – fixing society, fixing yourself...' —Harland Miller 

81

ACE

2019
Etching with woodcut in colours, on wove paper, the full sheet.
S. 101.3 x 71.8 cm (39 7/8 x 28 1/4 in)
Signed in pencil on the front, and numbered 37/50 in pencil on the reverse, co-published by Manifold Editions and White Cube, London, framed.

Full Cataloguing

Estimate
£10,000 - 15,000 ‡ ♠

Sold for £11,340

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Evening & Day Editions

London Auction 19-20 January 2022