Harland Miller will have his largest solo exhibition to date at the York Art Gallery next month.

Harland Miller York, So Good They Named It Once. Courtesy: York Art Gallery

Harland Miller: York, So Good They Named It Once will feature new and existing works including some of Miller’s best-loved works.

Miller was born in York in 1964 and his series Penguin Book Covers and the Pelican Bad Weather Paintings were inspired by and directly refer to Miller’s relationship to York. The works also refer to the culture and geography of Yorkshire’s wider landscape.

As well as being an artist, Miller is also a critically acclaimed novelist and has previously stated, “There’s always been this compunction to write on pictures.” His Penguin Book Covers marry his two passions by creating large-scale photo realistic images of vintage Penguin dust jackets, which he invents his own sardonic titles for, such as Tonight We Make History P.S. (I can’t be there), Fuck Art Let’s Dance and Death, What’s In It For Me?

Miller’s Pelican Bad Weather Paintings replicate the format of old Pelican books (Penguin’s nonfiction imprint) and include works with titles such as Rags to Polyester; Bridlington, Ninety Three Million Miles From The Sun; and of course, York, So Good They Named It Once.

The exhibition will also showcase his more recent Letter Painting series, which, with their oversized letters in Pop-like palette, reference the layout of book covers from the 1960s and ‘70s. Each painting has a band at the bottom with the painting’s title, featuring words such as ‘ace’, ‘luv’ and ‘nude’, and Miller’s name as the author.

Harland Miller Ace. Courtesy: York Art Gallery

His inspiration for the Letter Paintings were the graphics of post-war psychology books and paintings, and the format for the paintings was inspired by Medieval illuminated manuscripts.

Miller’s largest solo exhibition to date will take place from Feb 14 through to May 31 at the York Art Gallery. It is supported by the White Cube.

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