The William Turner Gallery presents Once Upon a Time, marking the eighteenth solo exhibition of Austin-based artist Greg Miller with the gallery.

These innovative, mixed-media paintings render familiar imagery and text into assemblages saturated with poignant slices of Americana. Nostalgic nods to ubiquitous tropes, such as billboards, pulp fictions, comic books, magazine ads and cinema marquees figure in fractions across the canvas.

With carefully selected images he composes vignettes to articulate a vernacular about American life and the pervasive symbology of American consumer culture. Disparate objects and figures combine their relationship to one another, coalesce and become a singular subject. The exhibition’s title, suggests a fairytale and both the glamour and illusion which Hollywood exports.

Extracting familiar pictorial codes from the popular culture of his youth, he constructs a visual vocabulary of accumulated experiences. In his examination of sign systems, modes of transmission, and production methods Miller creates paradoxes around the conventional iconography of post-war America. The artist’s uniquely 'California' perspective interweaves high and low culture, labor, and leisure to assemble a complex of images and text.

Growing up in northern California, Miller’s grandfather would take him on road trips to ghost towns around Lake Tahoe. While exploring the decaying homes people had abandoned, he was struck by the resourcefulness used to gild the walls with collages of old magazines and newspaper clippings. These archaeological ruins were a foil in contradiction with the tinsel of the aspirational advertisements dressing their walls.

Subsequently, Miller became a collector of vintage magazines, newspapers, zines and popular culture which he uses today as a part of his medium. The exhibition’s title comes from the work Once Upon a Time, which illustrates many of the themes, and techniques characteristic of Miller’s oeuvre. Central to the image is a black-and-white painting of a vintage Hollywood city-scape during its “Golden Age”. Super-imposed, is the profile of a comic book action-hero surveying the vista. To the right, Grisaille is applied with spray paint to produce a photorealistic portrait of a woman seductively peering out from what appears to be a cropped still-frame. The scratched surface alludes to wear, and the passage of time. Collaged below is a text clipping of “the right” with a clock next to it, suggesting “time”. On the far left, a faceted crystal highball glass is labeled with a clipping reading “Action”.

Greg Miller (b. 1951) was born in Sacramento, California and holds a Master of Arts Degree from San Jose University as well as a Graduate Degree from UCLA. Once a long-time Venice, California resident, he currently resides in Austin, Texas.

His work is featured in numerous museum and private collections, including those of: the San Jose Museum of Art, Newport Harbor Museum, Crocker Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Laguna Art Museum, Riverside Art Museum, Frederick R. Weisman Foundation and Charles Saatchi Foundation. The Get Go, a volume of his writings, photography and paintings was published in 2010, and the first comprehensive monograph of the artist, Signs of the Nearly Actual, was published in 2009.