Miller's crossing: The contrast between artist Garry Fabian Miller's 'simple' family home and his 'chaotic' studio darkroom is striking

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Garry Fabian Miller's abstract artworks have been the subject of two recent exhibitions in London: Shadow Catchers at the V&A and The Colour of Time at HackelBury Fine Art, Kensington. But his camera-less photograms are far more a product of Miller's rural way of life. His works – which capture light passed through coloured glass, cut paper or liquid on to photosensitive paper – are tranquil, luminous images that nonetheless hum with intensity.

He lives in a 100-year-old wooden house in a village on Dartmoor with his wife and three children – with a studio space just a field away. Miller, 53, has lived here for 21 years; he moved down south after meeting his wife Naomi, when she curated an exhibition of his works in Exeter. "I've always lived this kind of existence – I have to be somewhere I can walk," explains Miller. "It was by accident that it ended up being Dartmoor." Living in a place where he could have thinking space in the natural world (he even likes to tramp about at night) has always been important for Miller.

Being able to live and work in the same place has also been crucial. "I believe it is a positive situation – there's no need to 'escape'. I'm interested in domestic activity and homemaking. I like the way all these things fit together: being an artist, family life and making work. It's more balanced than separating it all out."

The house, Miller says, is like a boat: "Everything is wooden: ceilings, floors, walls, the roof. It was built to maximise light, which is unusual on Dartmoor as most houses are small and cave-like to keep the weather out." Anyone who has seen his work won't be surprised to hear that light is important for Miller.

Inside, the wooden walls are painted a simple, clean white. "I have been quite involved with the Quakers, and the walls have a simple aesthetic which brings out that quality of silence and stillness you find in some Quaker Meeting Houses."

While it is this simplicity that appeals to Miller, the white walls do also happen to showcase artworks rather nicely. Miller speaks warmly of being able to acquire pieces by other artists, and his walls feature works by Jon Schueler and Charlotte Verity, as well as creations from a plethora of potters. "I feel closer to potters," he insists. "Not many artists have this kind of rural life, whereas more craftspeople do. So we share that, and also the repetitive daily action of making something. I work in series of pictures, like a potter, trying to perfect them."

While you may spy one or two of Miller's own works on the walls, he prefers other people's art in his home. "I spend large parts of each day with my work in the studio, so I think keeping my pictures away from home is quite positive."

If the house is a world of aesthetic calm, then his darkroom in the studio is creative chaos. "It's like a big scrapbook that you go inside," he explains. "It's got a sense of the history of the pictures I've made, but also the kids growing up. I feel like I'm going into a place that I know really well, where I work alone, but I'm surrounded by the traces of my family who are just across the field."

Miller's book 'The Colour of Time' is out now (£29.95, Black Dog). Shadow Catchers is at the V&A until 20 February

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jay Z has placed a bet on streaming being the future for music and videos
music
Arts and Entertainment
Festival-goers soak up the atmosphere at Glastonbury
music
News
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own