Harland Miller: Where Abstract Expressionism Meets the Written word

Considered something of a literary scholar, Harland Miller is a British artist and novelist best known for painting canvases that resemble classic vintage book covers. 

Combing the intricacies of fine art with a Pop Art playfulness, Miller’s artworks are often witty and aesthetically striking, using vibrant colours and inspiration from psychology books of the 60s and 70s. 

His works are collected around the globe by critics and celebrities alike, including Sir Elton John and Ed Sheeran. George Michael was also a huge fan and acquired a number of Miller’s works for his Hampstead home over the years. The singer’s estate sale at Christie’s in March 2019 featured two of the artist’s great works; Incurable Romantic Seeks Dirty Filthy Whore (2006) and Death, What’s In It For Me? (2011) Both sold for six-figure prices. 

Growing up in the suburb Dringhouses, formerly a village in York, the painter left school to apprentice at Priestly’s, a T-shirt printer in the city, which made band T-shirts slightly altered to avoid copyright infringement. He went on to study at Chelsea School of Art, graduating in 1988 with an MA.

Harland Miller’s first exhibition at Ingleby Gallery, Scotland, Overcoming Optimism

In 2001, Miller began his dust jacket series based on the covers of classic Penguin books, appropriating the iconic Penguin logo and using narratives characterised by their humanity and tragic-comedy titles. Using humour, Pop Art-inspired vibrancy and the complexities of the written word, his work expresses the frailty of the human condition. As Miller has said, “painting is the worst medium to express narrative, but perhaps the best to hit a nerve”.

Miller’s influences include authors such as Edgar Allan Poe and Earnest Hemingway and artists inducing Mark Rothko, Anselm Kiefer, Ed Ruscha and Robert Rauschenberg. 

In late 2012, Miller had his first solo show at Ingleby Gallery entitled “Overcoming Optimism.” Other exhibitions include presentations at York Art Gallery (2020) and Palacio Quintanar, Spain (2015). Today, Miller continues to exhibit around the world, with solo shows in London, Berlin, Paris, New York, and Hong Kong, among other cities. 

Red Eight Gallery is delighted to offer our clients a selection of Miller’s original works. These works include, Five Ring Circus, It’s All Fun And Games Till Someone Loses An Eye (2012), Thought After Filthy Thought (2019), I’ll Never Forget What I Can’t Remember (2015), You Can Rely On Me, I’ll Always Let Your Down (2011), Who Cares Wins (2020), Tonight We Make History (2018), Fuck Art Let’s Dance (2011), and a recent addition,  Too Cool To Lose (2012)

If you’d like to inquire about any of these artworks, please get in touch

Main Image: Harland Miller. Photo by George Darrell