Two artists, Nancy Miiller and Cyd Peroni met at the Phoenix Art Museum in 2018 at a portfolio review. During a lunch break, they sat together outside in the shade on a concrete wall, eating and talking about their day’s experiences. Since then, they have shared more lunches, dinners, talks over drinks, personal histories, recipes, road trips, countless text messages, notices of calls for entry, support, doubts, triumphs, and photographs. Lots and lots of photographs…
Their friendship and passion for photography culminated in the Inside the Translucent Light exhibition which runs January 30 through March 24, 2023, at the Northland Pioneer College (NPC), Talon Gallery. The artists describe their collaboration; “You will see commonalities… a love of nature, particularly botanicals; a meditative viewpoint that reflects individual spiritual journeys; an attraction to the light so integral to the art of photography.”
Peroni is a fine art photographer working full-time from her studio in New River, Arizona. She is drawn to explore the Japanese concept of mono no aware, an awareness and appreciation of the impermanence of things and the transience of time. Her images are strongly influenced by poetry and the metaphors found in the natural world. Peroni searches for the often-unnoticed moments and their deeper spiritual and emotional meanings. Having lived in rural areas most of her life, she delves into the feelings of loneliness and sadness that are inextricably linked to the joys and fullness of life. Peroni is drawn to distilling the often-unnoticed details of nature that tug intrinsically at something deeper than reason and logic. The last petal about to fall. Leaves trapped between two rocks. A twig floating on the still surface of a lake. She views these ephemeral moments as visual metaphors that can offer small bits of advice or big revelations of the soul. She experiments with digital, traditional, and alternative photographic processes, along with a range of papers and materials such as precious metals and encaustic wax. She likes to convey the artist’s hand in her work and searches for the best combination of processes and materials to communicate universal human emotions and stories.
Fine art photographer Nancy Miiller grew up in Rhode Island and began her artistic endeavors as a child. From painting at age nine to three studies of concentration at Rhode Island College (graphic design, painting, and photography), she grew to love all things creative. Trained as a graphic designer throughout her professional career, Miiller felt a need to develop a stronger level of fine art photography. This led to further studies and one-on-one mentorships that pushed her talents and cultivated her distinct style. Nancy is captivated by creating abstract imagery that challenges perceived perception. Her deep desire is to capture and create what our eyes do not see. By using manmade and natural objects as subject matter, mini-worlds are created within worlds. She looks to the ephemeral and fleeting moments to challenge the viewer’s perceptions, begging the question, “Is that real?”
For Inside the Translucent Light, both artists use translucent paper (vellum) for its ability to transform the subject matter, but they treat the medium in different ways. The artists explain, “Nancy creates dreamlike illusions via in-camera double exposures, prints on vellum, and backs with white gesso. Cyd renders fleeting moments from the landscape, prints on vellum, and backs with 24 kt gold leaf. Both achieve a sense of depth and a quality of light in their work. Cyd embracing quiet shadows to evoke joy within melancholy. Nancy captures an internal glow that revels in highlights.”
Through the exhibition, Peroni and Miiler sought to blend both of their processes into something new. They combined two images (one from each of their portfolios) into one digital montage. All are backed with gesso. Two are embellished with gold leaf on the front of the image rather than the back. They concede, “We both like bending toward abstraction. The result fully embraces that inclination.”
According to the artists, “Inside the Translucent Light is an exploration of relationships between two artists, light and shadow, movement and stillness, human and landscape, spiritual and physical.”
In addition to the exhibition, Miiller and Peroni will present an artist talk about their individual works and the collaborative process. They will also present a demonstration of their processes. Since parts of the process involve exposure to chemicals, they will bring prepared "stages" of the technique to show attendees how it all comes together. Information for purchasing starter kits will be provided for those interested in pursuing the techniques on their own. (The artists do not create the kits or benefit from their purchase. They only wish to communicate a resource to interested participants).
The artist talk and demonstration will be held during a closing reception on Friday, March 24 from 4-6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
Inside the Translucent Light can be viewed at the Talon Gallery located on NPC’s Show Low (White Mountain) campus and is open to the general public Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., and Fridays, from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The gallery will be closed March 13 – 17, during NPC’s spring break.