Hollie Miller explores the female command of space in works that tend to focus on intimate gestures in everyday settings. She typically works across live and recorded contexts (performance, moving image, photography, installation and sculpture). Concerned with vulnerability as a form of resistance, she explores how this engenders our capacity for empathy. Using her body to reclaim the sensual, she overthrows the violence on women’s bodies that has become socially normalized. Instead, in, for example, these stills from new video work, ‘Sheltering The Whole Woman’, we see the nude woman as protected by domesticity, aroused by shadow and flayed by sunlight.
The mask that enmeshes a blonde woman, against a background of a suburban hedge, might be seen as The Green Man, an ancient symbol of fertility and the coming of summer. A certain pathos in the repression of the masculine in women is suggested. At this time of the Covid-19 pandemic, masked faces can suggest technology’s failures to combat natural designs. But technology cannot prevent certain pains. Our vulnerability is present at all times, waiting to sprout but, as this image suggests, monsterized and hidden.
‘To Melt/To Crystalize’ (2019) is another video work. In this piece, the crucified female figure, bound in cling film suggestive of Christ’s shroud, suggests the holiness of the feminine labour at home. The image hovers between sacredness and Hitchcockian menace, reminding us that for many women, this sacrifice is manipulated by unseen patriarchal forces, directing our destiny. Under these circumstances, the artist who recovers and binds her sensuality may be seen as subverting society’s attempt to dominate her. Hollie has said that she uses her performances as a “tool for transformation and female ascension.”
Lastly, in Fortress (2017) photographed by Yuichiro Noda, a folded female body in a bias-cut gown harbours an unseen strength that glows through the fall of shimmering fabric and skin and hair.
All images copyright Hollie Miller.
Follow Hollie on Instagram @hollie___miller