The Beautiful, Yet Deadly Inspiration Behind Liz Miller’s Installations

At first glance, Liz Miller’s installation works appears harmlessly beautiful. But look closer. Something sinister is hidden in the colors and

“I think it’s a little bit of a bait and switch,” Miller
said. “I kind of lure the viewer in. There are a lot of things that aren’t benign.”

Weapons. Invasive plants. Venomous creatures. These are just
some of the images buried in Miller’s decorative-looking work. The 37-year-old’s fascination with things that are both
deadly and beautiful developed after she partook in an artist residency in Omaha in 2007. That
summer was particularly warm, Miller said. Desperate to escape the heat, she took a trip to the Durham Museum and stumbled upon an exhibition featuring Colt firearms.

“I just become fascinated by the engravings on the weapons,”
Miller said. “That was a real tipping point for me when I started looking more
closer at that imagery.”

Below, Miller shares a behind the scenes look at the inspirations
behind two of installation pieces currently showing in Minneapolis and Grand
Rapids, Mich.

Maritime Reprise

2013, stiffened felt and other mixed media

  • Chroma
  • Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts
    2 Fulton West
    Grand Rapids, MI 49503
  • May 31 – August 18


Sublime Retaliation

2013, stiffened felt and other mixed media

  • String/Felt/Theory
  • Minnesota Museum of American Art Project Space
    332 N. Robert St.
    St. Paul, MN 55101
  • June 8 – July 28