Darren Lee Miller

2004-2008 The Mirrored Stage

I mine layers of non-verbal social interaction by performing for the camera. Though the places shown in the images do actually exist, my work occupies a space between fiction and fact. The work is autobiographical to some degree and imaginary to another. The interior spaces reflect the inner spaces of emotion, subconscious and intimacy.

I inhabit multiple personae, playing many roles, so what at first appears to be subjective and personal also functions as cultural commentary. Familiar consumer objects and costuming paired with incongruous settings and situations hint at a desire for normalcy while undermining the very idea of what is normal.

While some of my personae wander into urban settings, their rural roots are apparent. My deep, almost romantic reverence for “nature” is a crucial tool I use to lead viewers into a world only I can see. It’s an, idyllic, rustic, compulsive, gratifying world. The images sometimes provoke humiliation and fear while simultaneously eliciting pleasure and erotic joy. I often use my own body as an object of desire, placing the camera’s gaze squarely on me while also focusing on our tendency to fetishize just about anything considered to be “beyond normal.” The world is fraught with latent desires, compulsory roles, and social dynamics, and I feel like it’s my job to expose them. It’s not enough for you to be the viewer/voyeur. I work to get under your skin, and to make you laugh, even if I make you uncomfortable.

My work ranges from the simultaneously homosocial, homoerotic and homophobic, to the patriarchal and historic. Once it is clear that I appear repeatedly, I work to ensnare the viewer in a psychological space of projection, memory and identification. I am consciously using thinly-veiled, humorous allusions to sex both to uncover mainstream homoeroticism and also to undermine myths of heteronormativity.