Miller demonstrates artistic ability


Color popped out as giant felt patterns hung down from the ceiling, spanning the walls and floors in an explosion of pink, red, orange and white.

This wasn’t the same South Dakota Art Museum as it usually stood, with its cool, calm, white walls. Instead, loud and bright teal walls caught each person’s attention as they walked into Liz Miller’s exhibit, “Miasmatic Filigree”.

Liz Miller may not be formally trained in sculpture, but that hasn’t stopped her from creating intricate sculptures that fills rooms. Miller graduated from Rhode Island School of Design in 1999 with a bachelor’s in painting and now has an master’s in drawing and painting from the University of Minnesota. She is fascinated with the idea of weapons, invasive species and patterns and often incorporates them into her work.

The reception for Miller was held earlier this month. Many students who attended took selfies amidst the patterns, most of which were silhouettes of guns. Miller’s sculpture  will remain in the South Dakota Art Museum until Nov. 20.

“I’d never think to use felt for anything outside of a day care,” Molly Beire,  sophomore interior design major, said. The use of felt allowed the piece to be durable, yet still feel delicate as if paper was used. 

“I feel like there’s a weird disconnect between what she gets inspiration from and the material that’s used for it,” said Sarah Schmidt, sophomore interior design major. She went on to explain that the ideas of using felt as a material to silhouette the guns, had a compelling impact; especially because of the negative connotation of guns today. 

“I always thought it was interesting that the things that do harm don’t necessarily look harmful or look more than anything else,” Miller said. “How do you know, you know?”

In her presentation, Miller explained that ornaments, decorations, organization and fashion were a few of the elements that inspired her art, both with sculpture and paint. She also explained that each piece is greatly impacted based on the location of the piece. 

“We were very excited to have her come here and install a site-specific installation for us. She was here last spring as a visiting artist, but were glad to have her back and she made a beautiful installation for us,” Jodi Lundgren, museum exhibition curator, said.

Miller discussed her appreciation for the space she used in the museum, partly because the museum was willing to let her change the wall color to the bright teal used. She felt the color not only changed the temperature of the space, but allowed it to feel more immersing as well. 

Due to the interactive feel of the piece, the exhibit had great responses overall, especially on social media.

Miller felt that because of the height of the room, she was able to create a elusive space, where visitors would be able to walk not only around, but through the piece. She went on to share her excitement about the social media response, especially on Instagram, where people have been posting photos inside the piece. 

“It’s a very interactive environment, which is fun, that you can walk through the art instead of just looking at it on a wall,” Schmidt said.

South Dakota State University students aren’t the only people taking notice of the artist, however. Many of the people in attendance were community members.

“I’m just blown away,” said Andrew L’Amour, a Brookings resident. “There are just so many elements: color, shape, patterns, concept. And it just covers the whole room. It’s just great.”