Wondering about the genius of the artist Mike Miller
There are prolific artists in this city that I would describe as “iconic”. Mike Miller, 63, is one of them. Miller is the guy at the art party in the overalls. Her hair rarely sees a brush or comb. He has a calm demeanor and ready smile. If you argue with him, stay away, because he’s absolutely brilliant – brilliant Einstein. This man surely dreams in mathematical equations and quantum mechanics.
Miller is a sculptor who uses just about everything he stores on his farm near Towanda to build some of the region’s most unusual works of art. Rock, Iron, Motors, Gears, Cable and Rope are all used by Mike. Maybe you’ve seen the Dragonfly on North Broadway, or the wind engine play at the new ballpark – they’re his. He has brilliant work at Newman University which can be seen from Kellogg. Surely you know the spider on the wall in Gallery Alley downtown and the rope sculpture on the adjacent wall, all Millers.
Mike brings fabulous sophistication and humor to his works – not an easy combination to pull off. He works with the work ethic of a farmer. Hard work, long hours and learning from failure. He always persists until he achieves the finished work. This artist has done so much with so little for so long that he can do everything with nothing.
And now he has another piece on display at the outdoor Chain Link Gallery on Douglas, near Main. A hen about 15 feet tall, standing next to a 4 foot egg and a wooden swing. The work is interactive and kinetic. You sit and rock and this movement causes the chicken sculpture to walk, with its head and tail moving, like a chicken. At night, it lights up with flexible neon LEDs.
Miller explains that the work reflects on the question: which came first, the chicken or the egg, or even deeper, the chicken as human and how we all fit into the universe.
I’m going to have to sit down with him over a beer so he can explain it to me.
Mike Miller, The chicken and the eggat the Chain Link Gallery in Wichita.