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Chicory Miles

Portraits of a Burnt Wood

Opening on October 6th 2011 - 6:30 pm

My work is an ongoing exploration of human impacts on the environment. The effects of climate change seem to be all around us, through droughts, floods hurricanes, and unseasonable freezing temperatures.

This latest series of watercolors documents an area of Ireland that was devastated by fires this spring. After an unusually cold winter, which left many trees and shrubs dead, fires, which were attributed to arson swept across the countryside in Donegal leaving large stands of trees charred and black. Living in New Orleans after Katrina, I experienced a feeling that I recognized, the strangeness of a landscape uprooted and turned on its head.

On visiting these areas I was struck not only by the sadness of the woods, but the surreal beauty of the area. Large sections of forest were black and enormous trees had toppled over at their roots. Through the burnt earth new growth emerged, a shockingly vivid green. The dead trees were at once both gruesome and majestic. Each tree seemed like an individual character so I decided to approach the paintings as intimate portraits, trying to in a sense immortalize the character that each tree revealed.

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Chicory Miles moved to New Orleans at the age of fourteen. After receiving her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicory was awarded an internship in the Kohler Arts/Industry residency program. She then moved to San Francisco and began working at the Exploratorium, a museum of science, art, and human perception as a manager in the Center for Public Exhibition. She received her MFA in Sculpture from California College of Arts. Her work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally. She has also curated exhibitions including Fictional Science, which opened in SoHo, New York. Chicory currently lives in New Orleans and teaches at Louisiana State University’s School of Art.(Miles 2011)