For his more recent series depicting book covers, Harland Miller turns his attention to psychology and social science publications from the 1960s and ’70s. Happiness is distinctly modelled after the cover design of a self-help manual, while also demonstrating Miller’s continued interest in colour experimentation. A corresponding strategy and structure can be detected in his work, Armageddon: Is It Too Much To Ask?.
The artist utilises various printmaking techniques in Happiness, employing polymer-gravure, photo-etching and block printing to achieve a more graphic and superimposed finish. While at first glance the work might seem one dimensional, its main elements have in fact been given a multilayered appearance.
Additionally, the disposition of the textual and the figurative components have been revised and the title no longer occupies the central panel. As opposed to his earlier adaptations of Penguin book covers, the observer is unlikely to be intimately familiarised with the source material in this series.
As a result, a different kind of relationship is formed between form, text and colour palette in Happiness. The observer is inclined to firstly consider the hovering cube formation in the middle, making the text above serve a secondary purpose. In effect, the title is actually activated by the bold colour composition.