Shayna Miller is a New Jersey based artist. She graduated from Drew University in May 2019 with majors in art and art history and minors in comparative religion and medieval studies. She was awarded the Stanley Prescott Hooper Memorial Prize in 2019 for promise and integrity in studio art. Her work is in the collection of Drew University as well as numerous private collections. She recently co-curated an exhibit, New York Semester on Contemporary Art: The First Decade, 1967-1977, at the United Methodist Archives and History Center in Madison, NJ. Her body of work explores her relationship to mysticism and the body, as well as an interest in process as ritual through painting and sculpture.
Rituals are a set of actions, often orderly, regular, and with purpose. The studio is the site of my personal investigations into ideas related to rituals. This entails the creation of boundaries and rules that I have chosen to abide by, a search for a solution through the obsessive nature of the process. Working primarily in oil paint, forms can easily be manipulated, subtracted, and altered. Actions of scrubbing and dragging paint across panel surfaces become an intimate and physical action of embodiment; the painting becomes body. Sculptural elements taken from domestic furniture and architecture explore other relations to the body. My work is a vehicle for transformation, invoking powers of transubstantiation, through references to compositional devices employed in early modern religious and icon painting. The process involves channeling my personal experiences and emotions in order to reach into spiritual dimensions to retrieve new forms and images. Paintings become capsules and cross-sections; they both contain and release talismanic energy, during and after their creation.