When listening to Kristen Miller describe how neutrinos, which are subatomic particles, pass through the Earth due to their lack of electrons, you would think you’re talking to an astrophysicist. Instead, Miller is an artist explaining the inspiration behind her new exhibit Passing Through.
“I’ve always had this interest in trying to imagine invisible things,” says Miller. “With neutrinos, atoms, air, energy, I love invisible things and then trying to imagine them and make them visible.”
Passing Through is Miller’s most recent exhibit on display at PDX Contemporary Art. After reading the article “Looking for Neutrinos, Nature’s Ghost Particles” in Smithsonian Magazine, Miller was fascinated by neutrinos and the things that exist around us that we can’t see. Combining glassine and organdy and stitching translucent beads, Miller tries to “make the invisible visible.”
“I’ve been using beads and this particular cloth called organdy, which is a cotton transparent cloth. I like that particular cloth because it is very transparent, but also the lightness of it,” says Miller. “I imagine the lightness of materials as being able to float.”
Though inspired by the complex intricacies of quantum mechanics, Miller keeps her artwork simple. Most of her pieces are under a square foot and have minimal designs and neutral color palettes. However, that doesn’t mean they were quick to create.
“The pieces ‘Gravity’ and ‘Without Gravity’ took about two months to make,” says Miller. “They are very simple, but I do think the simple patterns can have a universal meaning.”
The exhibition may be an exploration in subatomic particles and the invisible forces of physics, but Miller presents these ideas in a way that is light and welcoming.
“Maybe by seeing my artwork, they will see things differently.” Miller laughs to herself, then continues. “But you know what? Whatever they come away with is fine. If they think it’s awful, that’s fine.”
Passing Through is on display at PDX Contemporary Art until August 31, 2013.