From the smooth hull of a wooden boat to the salt spray of a crashing wave, Kelsey Miller’s fine art prints capture the essence of the ocean, and invite the same kind of meditative contemplation. So it comes as no surprise that the artist has been surrounded by the sea for most of her life. Originally from Antigua, she worked as a chef on a sailboat for four years, and now lives in coastal Rhode Island.
While living at sea, she filled sketchbooks with pen-and-ink drawings of her surroundings. A notebook from a seventeen day sail from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean contains a detailed study of the daily changes of the ocean, from subtle shifts of the wind to the reflection of light. Now, back on land and pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree, she has the ability to create larger-scale projects that convey the vastness of the open ocean. From April 11 through May 9, her work will be on display at the Hera Gallery in Wakefield, R.I. as part of “Water,” a national juried exhibition exploring contemporary perspectives on the element.
Miller uses a variety of printmaking techniques, including woodcut, lithography, monotype, stencil, and letterpress, in order to translate ideas of space and movement onto a two-dimensional page. By balancing cool blue-gray tones with a judicious use of white space, she invokes a sense of calm and groundedness. But the apparent simplicity of her prints belies the attention to detail and texture that is evident on a closer viewing. Like the sea itself, what appears on the surface is only the beginning.
All photographs courtesy of Kelsey Miller.