Now Featuring Jeremy Miranda
Painter Jeremy Miranda examines our relationship to the idea of worlds escape or retreat. He paints interiors and landscapes that seems to both offer refuge and the threat of overgrowth or isolation. Interrupted by glowing computer screens, false walls and wild plants, his work is a reminder that encounters with the sublime are tinged with dread as well as awe.
MH: The prints we’ve collected for LPP mostly fall under the umbrella of landscapes, but a lot of your other work is interiors. Can you talk about your relationship to architecture, and also talk about the screens (computer screens, TVs, paintings-within-paintings) that show up in your work?
JM: After years of working solely on landscape paintings I wanted to shift into more narrative work, but I didn’t want to relay on the figure or characters to tell the story. Architecture , specifically interiors, gave me the freedom to make loose narratives through, really, just the evidence of people.
I’m interested in escapism and how different cultures have different ways of retreating into virtual worlds. The computers and televisions in my paintings are part of my fascination with the digital virtual world and how we access it through different screens as if they were windows or portals. The paintings with in paintings are there, hopefully, as a reminder that the painting itself is a screen or window into another kind of virtual world that dates back much further.
MH: Plants, both in “nature” and houseplants show up in nearly all of your images. They seem to point to some sense of ordered chaos, maybe a messiness or vitality in otherwise sparse scenes. Would you talk a little about how you use plant imagery?
JM: Initially they were used for their wildness in an effort counteract this hard edged world I was shaping but I think their function has evolved into something a bit more figurative and sentient now. Over the past year I’ve become really interested in the idea of invasive plant species and how their behavior is talked about in the same way we talk about human colonization.
MH: A follow up on architecture: the structure you paint have a clean, modernist feel to their lines, even when taken over by plants or pierced by screens. Do you have a relationship with modernism, or thoughts about it, especially in contrast to the nature you picture, which, since you also are thinking about invasive species, you clearly understand not to be truly “natural.”
JM: I would have to say I’m probably like a lot of people in that I’m conflicted about Modernism, or Modernity as a whole. I don’t want to be too heavy handed about it but It would seem that its either going to wreck us or save us. I think when I was making more architectural paintings (I’m not sure I feel this way anymore) I was sure that the level of sophistication with regards to our architecture (how we plant ourselves) ultimately would determine how were are received by nature.
MH: I could keep asking you about the content of you images, but I am also curious about your palette… it’s very bright but still full of shadows and browns. Can you talk about some of your color influences, and artists whose sense of color your admire or are influenced by?
JM: I’m influenced , coloristically, by transitional spaces. For instance where the land meets the ocean or a room that has both interior and exterior light. I’m always looking for instances where you get two separate color phenomena happening at once and use that information to create color relationships in my work. A few artist who work with color in this way who I admire would be David Park, Neo Rauch, Tom Thomson, Turner and Terrance Malick.
MH: Besides color, who are some of your other influences? Looking at your work, I half expect you to list photographers or novelists, but on the other hand, traditions of landscapes and interiors in painting go back a long time.
JM: Lately I’ve been most influenced by artists who do narrative work that has a fragmented, dream like quality to it. Writers like David Mitchell and Huruki Murakami and directors like Terrance Malick, Guy Madden and Werner Herzog to name a few. I will say, however, that my admiration for the seascapes of William J.M.W Turner and William Trost Richards borders on religious. Their paintings, somehow, transcend any human narrative and go right to explaining the universe.
MH: I see what you mean about Turner and Richards. Their seascapes, and your captivation with them, both point to an interest in the sublime. (Caspar David Friedrich being another possible example in landscape painting.) How do you relate to notions of the sublime, and to Romaticism, which is a current in Richards and Friedrich’s work?
JM: Searching for the sublime is a big part of what drives my work. I’ve always maintained a body of seascape/landscape paintings on the side and that’s a very direct approach but the other paintings i do are often about the narrative of people searching for it; the obsession with it and how its almost something that can be mined for. I think that’s why Turner and Richard’s appeal to me so much. I love their work but also I love the story of how they worked, their obsession with searching for the sublime like it were some kind of rare bird, and how, almost as a by-product, ended up with such powerful work.