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The Weight of Light
The Weight of Light
Corporeality and revelation in the work of Raé Miller

By Viridiana Gutiérrez Tejeda
(Edited from the original version in Spanish)

“Light itself becomes the revelation.”              
-James Turrell              

The work of Raé Miller is characterized by presenting, with extreme simplicity and superb delicacy, the mastery of a technique that in its organic nature, conceals and reveals, protects and extracts; is simultaneously limit and excess, immanence and transcendence.

Rae’s use of encaustic (from the Greek enkaustikos ‘to burn in’) is not by chance. She finds the process, the malleability, and translucent layering possibilities of the wax-based medium perfect for her tireless experimental search to express the phenomenon of light.

I would like to address the metaphorical narratives that Raé’s works trigger: the halo of mystery that attracts when carefully and meticulously detailed crevices, structures, and textures are observed, resulting in a visual description of ways of making a world.

Wax has been used as a protective material for time immemorial, due to its antiseptic qualities and ability to delay decomposition of organic matter. It is also considered a mystical and spiritual substance, revered by artists such as Joseph Beuys and Jasper Johns.

In this case too, we find an inherent characteristic of self-revelation and entropy in Miller’s work, manifested by the familiarity provided by wax. There is a latent corporeality in each of her pieces; the materiality is skin and fluid, wound and blood, life and death. Ortega y Gasset argues that art seems to open us to the vital intimacy of things. Raé opens this body in wound, cleft, or window that reveals, so that ultimately, we can see through. The body breaks its silence and we enter an intimate connection with what we do not see in “carnal consciousness.” It shows what makes us see. In seeing, we are privy to a subjective body of pleasure and pain, knowledge that should be inaccessible to others, thus opening an ontological dimension between the subject and the object.

The spirit is released from the body, with light as its guide.

The light in these works comes from the inside, going towards. The work begins with light and resolves toward the surface, revealing complex patterns and telling stories, much like patching and scars.

Without light, there is no color, no form, there is only darkness. To let in or let out the light is confession and revelation of the hidden, of what’s silent. That silence creates enigmatic distortions as a way of healing.

The exhibition “The Weight of Light” becomes a sanctuary where light is consecrated to a universal natural state, its study, and its power of transformation. These works are essentially a way of seeing and understanding the world; to look out, to see oneself, or to see absolutely nothing. If there is light in the “space”, it will never be empty.

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Raé will give her final Artist Talk about the exhibition on Friday, January 27, at 2pm, at Bellas Artes, Hernandez Macias 75. The exhibition ends on January 29.

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M.A. Viridiana Gutiérrez Tejeda

Art historian and Master of Arts, specialized on modern and contemporary art and as an expert in art appraisals. She has ten years of experience in art galleries, cultural projects management, and as an artist and art collector adviser. She currently lives in San Miguel de Allende.

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