Chicago's Rare Nest Gallery Presents "John F. Miller: In Memoriam"

August 5, 2022

John F. Miller, 'Quad Hopper' Digital Painting, 75 inches x 64 inches, 2008.

John F. Miller, Circa 1947

John F. Miller (B. Princeton, Illinois 1923 - D. Milwaukee, Wisconsin 2021) was an important early modern artist who worked in Chicago for over 6 decades.

Miller devoted his career to exploring painterly issues, consistently combining a lush handling of pigments with an investigation into compositional structure.”
— Keith Bringe, Rare Nest Gallery Director

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, UNITED STATES, August 5, 2022 / -- John Miller: In Memoriam Exhibition through September 5th 2022 at Rare Nest Gallery and online at

John F. Miller B. Princeton, Illinois 1923 - D. Milwaukee, Wisconsin 2021
John Miller’s 70+ year career formed a graceful arc of thoughtful conceptualization and a mastery of diverse mediums. Please join Rare Nest for a survey of Miller's career.

The artist served in the US Army in Korea from 1946 to 1947. After returning, he attended the School of the Art Institute for his art education and the University of Chicago for academics. In 1953 Miller founded the 414 Art Workshop Gallery, one of Chicago’s earliest “alternative spaces” that premiered the work of pioneering modernists such as H. C. Westermann. Miller worked on the workshop’s faculty, teaching classes in painting, design and jewelry-making
Miller was a constant and influential fixture on the Chicago art scene, and taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago from 1958 until his retirement in 1998 as Professor Emeritus. He also taught painting at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois (1959 - 62); the Hyde Park Art Center (1957 - 58); the University of Illinois, Chicago (1959 – 62); and at Kendall College, Evanston (1964 - 65). Miller was a frequent exhibitor in the Art Institute of Chicago’s Chicago & Vicinity shows from 1952 – 1962. He was active on the board of directors of Exhibition Momentum in 1956 – 1957. He exhibited in another important alternative space in Chicago, Superior Street Gallery Corporation (1959 - 61). Except for the year he spent living in Mexico from 1970 to 1971, and a Fulbright-Hayes Teaching Fellowship spent in England during 1975, Miller has lived in Chicago most of his adult life.

Miller devoted his career to exploring painterly issues, consistently combining a lush handling of pigments with an investigation into compositional structure. From the mid-1950s to the late 1980s, miller painted variations on the figure, usually seated, in a Fauve palette. The figures eventually became increasingly abstracted and more integrated into the structural design. In the figure, Miller began to concentrate on the monumental architecture of abstract, largely geometric forms set in dynamic equilibrium with energetic passages of freely painted, gestural strokes. In addition to his large paintings on board (typically four-by-five-and-one-half feet), Miller has worked out his ideas on a smaller scale on paper, and during a brief period in the early 1990s Miller added collaged elements to his paintings. For the past fourteen years Miller has translated his painterly concerns to the computer, producing unique large-scale (six-by-twelve feet) modular archival inkjet prints that have been termed “digital paintings.”

Miller’s solo exhibitions include those at Superior Street Gallery in 1960, Wolverhampton Polytechnic, England in 1975, Crane Gallery in 1989, Three Illinois Center in 1989, Two Illinois Center in 1992, the Chicago Cultural Center in 2003, Flatfile Contemporary in 2004, and ThinkArt Gallery in 2011. His work has been in numerous group exhibition including the “62nd Annual American exhibition, Art Institute of Chicago, 1957, “The New Chicago Decade,” Lake Forest College, 1959, “Annual Art Exhibition,” Hyde Park Art Center, 1959, “Exhibition Chicago,” University of Illinois, 1965, “Phalanx 3: Prints, Drawings, and Watercolors,” Kendall College, 1966, “Phalanx 4,” Illinois Institute of Technology, 1966, “Chicago Artists 1948 – 75,” Hyde Park Art Center, 1976, “Alternative Spaces,” 1984 and “Art in Chicago 1945 – 1995,” 1996, both at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, and “Imaging by Numbers: A Historical View of the Computer Print,” Northwestern University, Block Museum, 2008. Miller was affiliated with Richard Gray Gallery in Chicago, during the late 1970s, and from 1989 to 1997 was represented by Jan Cicero Gallery in Chicago, where he exhibited with his wife, photographer Barbara Crane, in 1996.

Rare Nest Gallery has undertaken a catalog of Miller’s works. This exhibition will explore the artist’s enormous archive and will be accompanied by additional events including visits to the artist’s studio in the west loop.

Keith Bringe
Rare Nest LLC
+1 708-616-8671
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