Retrospective at Amy’s explores 30 years of work from local artist Cecile Miller
Cecile Miller has come a long way in 30 years as an artist.
The long-time Prince Albert resident is displaying some of her works, and exhibiting her growth as an artist, in a far-reaching retrospective on display at Amy’s on Second.
Miller has loved drawing and being creative since she was young.
“Being creative and designing/making things and creatively solving problems, in any medium, brings me joy and makes me feel alive,” she said.
During her university days, Miller was a painter and printmaker. She switched to ceramics while teaching art at Carlton, and enjoyed pottery so much she left teaching to become a full-time potter/artist for 10 years.
“I did everything from jewellery to hand-built, wheel-thrown and slip cast pottery,” Miller said.
“I studied in the SIAST two-year ceramic program, where I began to airbrush my clay wall pieces. Some of my recent canvases utilize masking and airbrushing techniques.”
She later honed digital graphic design skills in the new media program.
The retrospective on display at Amy’s shows a variety of those media and techniques Miller has learned over the years.
“On display are acrylic paintings on canvas or paper, my signature ceramic wall pieces and a few ceramic sculptures and vessels,” Miller said.
“I even have a few oil pastels on paper from an Emma Lake art camp and one silkscreen print from my University days.”
Those pottery pieces are where Miller is most at home. Her favourite medium is clay. But recently she has been getting back into painting inspired by a stint with the Kyla Art Group.
“I experiment with mediums or mixed-media,” Miller said.
While the exhibition is a retrospective, there are certain themes that run throughout.
Hen I work towards an exhibition, a theme can be instrumental to my creative process,” Miller said.
“In this retrospective, you will see works from former shows such as ‘Spirit of the Dance’ inspired by my love of dance, ‘Contained Space’ which explored the boundaries of physical space and time, ‘White Period’ where I challenged myself to depart from a very colourful palette to works done only in white, ‘Abundance’ pushed repetitive elements, and so on.
“I think most of my work conveys underlying universal meanings with a touch of whimsy.”
Miller said it was “wonderful” to raise her children within P.A.’s “thriving” arts community. Now, though, she is moving on, sharing studio space in Saskatoon with Sandra Ledingham.
This city, though, has had a huge influence on Miller’s career as an artist.
“Prince Albert brought me to fabulous influences,” she said, citing painting instructor George Glenn and Ledingham, who teaches ceramics.
“It also provided opportunities to work as an art educator in the public school system, the art gallery and arts centre, at Sask. Polytech in the ceramics studio and online. Involvement in other arts such as dance, set and costume design, music and digital design also helped me to grow as a person and as an artist.”
While her working space will be in Saskatoon, Miller said Prince Albert art fans haven’t seen the last of her work.
“I have installation pieces in the works for a collaborative exhibition in Prince Albert in the near future,” she said. “I also hope to pursue artist residencies in other counties, as my husband and I love to travel.”
With her retrospective on display, Miller hopes people can connect to it in some way, just as she has connected with art her whole life.
“I hope they can relate to it in some way,” she said.
“Whether they are attracted to a particular piece find meaning in the symbolism or are fascinated by a technique or material I’ve used, it’s all good.”