Harland Miller gained notoriety for his playful celebration of the unison between art and literature. The artist embarked upon his infamous reworking of the Penguin design heritage almost two decades ago. ACE, executed in 2019, is based on a 2017 painting from the artist’s Letter Painting series bearing the same title. As opposed to his Penguin prints series, the artworks comprising Miller’s Letter Painting seriesare not centered around titles.Rather, they draw on single short words and acronyms for their main compositions.
The formal qualities and overall layout of ACE were inspired by hand drawn Medieval illuminated manuscripts and the graphics of post-war psychology publications. Miller cleverly revises the embellished lettering style and vivid cover designs. He contributes a kaleidoscopic layering of colour to the print, and thereby also a distinct Pop sensibility.
Miller references his art historical precursors in ACE, by isolating, overlaying and reconnecting the disparate elements on the canvas. Consistent with the Pop artists who came before him, he abstracts and reconstitutes the meaning behind mundane mono and bisyllabic word snippets, rendering these in bold and saturated typefaces. Ultimately, Miller’s artwork conjoins slogans and commercialised signage with the impression of an underlying profoundness.