Local artist opens art exhibit in Downtown Hays

BY TREVOR PFEIFER

In a thriving, competitive art scene such as Hays’, it can be difficult for creators to find a platform for creating and sharing their work.

That is why local artist Matthew Miller is taking initiative. Earlier this month, Miller kicked off his open studio art exhibit at the Hays Arts Council annex building.

The studio is open to the public, and anyone is welcome to visit to see Miller’s art and a little bit of the process behind it. The showing provides a look at Miller’s exhibit titled “Cloudfarm,” as well as his other works in progress.

Miller describes “Cloudfarm” as building upon the idea of capturing the energy of the wind and the clouds. 

“Much like turbines harnessing the wind’s power, my paintings capture the shifting and surging impulses of nature, and have become for me a visual record of my own wandering spirit,” Miller said. 

But for Miller, “Cloudfarm” is much more than the visual aspects of the clouds, turbines, and landscapes that compose it; he traces its inspiration as far back as 2014.

Inspiration for Miller’s “Cloudfarm”
PHOTO COURTESY OF MATHEW MILLER

“The basic idea for “Cloudfarm” comes from a painting I made … a portrait of myself looking upward toward a wind turbine with an old house behind me. I’m thinking of my own process of making paintings as akin to the way in which these turbines harness the wind’s energy and make it into a new form of power: taking a mostly unseen force and turning it into something useful and valuable in a different kind of way.”

In a similar way, Miller also wants others to get something out of “Cloudfarm.”

“My hope is that viewers will take away not only the beauty of the landscape around us, but also an opportunity to ‘tickle’ the clouds. That is, I hope these paintings and all our community art events give people a chance to use their imaginations and creativity solely by taking a closer look at their direct surroundings.”

Working in an open studio also provides a new kind of versatility for Miller, who typically works on these projects outside under the open sky.

“I usually work en plein air, but [I] have also always enjoyed making larger paintings in the studio, where I can kind of put all my works in progress up on the walls and work on many at once to let them kind of influence each other — to see how they are related or not. It helps me to build a show based on certain recurring ideas or forms,” Miller said. “It’s always nice to have people stop in every now and again to see what I’m up to as well. With all that’s going on right now, it’s rewarding to have a place to exhibit and work.”

The “Cloudfarm” open studio will remain open through mid-April. Amid growing coronavirus concerns, Miller is still debating the potential for a closing reception.

The studio can be found at 1010 Main, and Miller can be expected to be there from 8 to 10:30 a.m. and 4 to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, as well as all day during the weekends.

You can find out more about Miller on his website.

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