Harland Miller - Armageddon Is It Too Much To Ask?

Armageddon Is It Too Much To Ask? Harland Miller

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Armageddon Is It Too Much To Ask? is a print by Harland Miller from 2017. The print employs polymer-gravure with photo-etching and block printing to produce an exciting and dynamic print that differs from Miller’s other, more conventional screen prints. The print was produced in two sizes, large and small.

Orange dominates the print with the book’s title to the right of the composition in capital letters. ‘Armageddon’ is written in a larger font and different colour to the rest of the title, which immediately solicits the viewer’s attention. Below the title is a cube in purple, red and green. The shape floats in the middle of the cover, hovering underneath the title. Miller utilises various printmaking techniques in Armageddon Is It Too Much To Ask?. By employing polymer-gravure, photo-etching and block printing, Miller achieves 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 multi-layered appearance.

For Armageddon Is It Too Much To Ask?, Miller takes his inspiration from popular psychology books, self-help manuals and social science publications from the 1960s and 1970s. These influences are also seen in Miller’s print Happiness, also made in 2017. Characterised by their bold and abstract covers, these psychology books aimed to help people suffering from psychological disorders. As seen in Armageddon Is It Too Much To Ask?, the bright and colourful geometric designs of the covers sought to counteract the heavy medical content inside the book. Miller was very interested in colour and how it could influence mood and perception. His experimentation with bold colours in this print reflects his exploration of the frequent disconnect between representation and reality.

Miller’s interest in colour is influenced by the abstract American painter, Mark Rothko. Rothko was best known for his colour field paintings that depicted irregular and painterly rectangular regions of colour. The bold orange of Armageddon Is It Too Much To Ask? resonates with the blocks of colour used by Rothko and reflects how Miller’s art has a tendency to mirror the style of contemporary paintings.

The inspiration for these prints are somewhat unconventional for Miller, who is best known for appropriating the iconic dust jackets of Penguin classics. The Penguin series which Miller started in 2001 and is continuing to build today has become synonymous with the artist’s name. While the cover design is different in Armageddon Is It Too Much To Ask? to the Penguin series, it is apparent that Miller’s fascination with books has continued to mark his artistic practice.

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