By Angela Miles
Joshua Miles, now living in Scotland, will offer a solo exhibition at the FynArts Gallery, Hermanus from Saturday 18 November to Sunday 10 December.
Joshua Miles was born in the Western Cape. His father was a magistrate and so they moved around during his childhood. He grew up mainly in rural areas and spent his holidays by the sea. His high school and student years were spent in Cape Town. All these places where he has lived make him relate to the Western Cape as home.
Drawing quietly in a corner through his childhood and spending time with his Aunt Elsa Miles, witnessing her doing woodcuts – Joshua felt the obvious choice for him was to study art. Seeing her working in relief printmaking is what he thought art should be. As a landscape artist, some of his early inspiration came from the landscapes of Pierneef and Hugo Naudé. Joshua goes on regular hunting trips to find his perfect image. He has travelled most of the back roads in the Western Cape to capture the play of light on the land.
Joshua has a passion for light and how it creates moods. It is often in an everyday scene, the shadow of a cloud moving over a vast valley, a glint of sun, a dusty haze on a dirt road after a bakkie passes, a halo around a sheep or seeing through the top layer of water to the glowing depths below. Even before Joshua points his camera, he is seeing composition, colour, contrast and mood. Already with his eye he has broken the image up into tones that become the different layers of both his printing techniques of linocuts and monotypes.
Joshua is inspired by the impressionists’ style of loose mark making and how those marks then read as realism from a distance. He also uses the Japanese technique of gradient rolling in his work. Many years painting oil on canvas has influenced how he applies the ink. He uses his rollers like large paintbrushes, applying many colours to each layer to build up the image. The softer marks of the monotype process are a more recent exploration and are a combination of painting and printmaking.
After his studies and time traveling Europe, Joshua lived in Hermanus where he met his Scottish wife. They have been married more than twenty-five years, moving between their two home countries. The Swallow lifestyle was an obvious choice for them to satisfy the longing or pining for that place they feel is home.
In his latest exhibition, Joshua is showing a cross-section of works from the different areas of the Western Cape where he grew up. Some are new and some older works as they represent the different chapters of his life in South Africa.
It seems fitting to have this exhibition in Hermanus as it’s where the dream began. From meeting his wife, to the lifestyle he has now. With only a part of the year to spend in his homeland, Joshua yearns being in a place where he has built-up long-term friendships and feels familiar, which to him is what makes home.
For more information on Joshua’s latest exhibition, Home visit – www.hermanusfynarts.co.za.
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