Al Miller presses paint placed on metal surfaces and in the process creates branching fractals. His human force creates patterns that replicate a fundamental force of nature—the recurring patterns of self-similarity that shape complex structures that might not at first seem geometric or mathematical, but in fact are—such as tree branches or the shape of a coastline. In Al Miller’s landscape paintings, his fractal shapes function like mandalas or Rorschach ink blots, inviting meditation, projection, and interpretation. Several works evoke landscapes, but like landscape paintings in several cultures, including Chinese art, the landscape is a springboard for philosophical, spiritual, scholarly, and other abstract realms. In some works, Al Miller’s increases the allusions of the metal surfaces by creasing them, or cutting through them, layering mechanical processes atop organic. The play of light on the metal is constantly in flux, also implying and integrating time, change, and cosmic forces.
“Taking a break from digital tools and using the hand from start to finish, I am now making fractal structures with paint. They echo the fractal branching found everywhere in nature, in the arrangement of tree branches, in the structure of our retinas, in dried riverbeds on Earth and Mars. These paintings are done on metal surfaces. The play of light and dark on the reflective surfaces mirrors ambient or external light, and as the viewer moves, this play of light becomes kinetic and interactive. I discovered that African societies have been using fractals for centuries in design, textile, sculpture, architecture, hairstyles, and more. For me, my fractal landscapes offer a new way of seeing art and beyond. They may hold the key for the reconstruction of society as demonstrated in the African example, which is conscious of past, present, and future simultaneously. Fascinated by Africans’ inherent use and understanding of fractals as part of their egalitarian, communal structures, and considering fractals as self-organizing algorithms, has peaked my interest in social and cultural re-organization, and has shed some new light on a generally dim, apocalyptic world view.”