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Three-week residency at SPACE Gallery

Raquel P Miller Art, Residency Room at SPACE Gallery, Portland, Maine

I'm so grateful to have been able to spend three-weeks working out of one of the Residency Rooms at SPACE Gallery in Portland, ME. I was awarded this residency after applying for the Rent Free Studio Space for BIPOC Artists in the Fall of 2022. While I did not receive the studio space, I was offered this residency with my choice of dates.

The timing worked out really well for me and I was able to take some days off from work to extend weekends so that I could work more openly there.

This was the first time I had worked in a studio that was outside of my home. I was unsure how I would feel about it but I actually really loved the separation and act of going to the studio. It felt a little extra special to be able to unlock the big doors of the building and walk past Pickwick Press, turn on the lights of my space,and not have any of my home there to distract me.

I was able to move furniture around and make the space my own. And it felt so refreshing. It's so great to be able to spread out and hang up work over an entirety of a wall. I loved working on panels of Homosote wall knowing that I could literally put an entire box of tacks into the wall without destroying it. I loved the ability to move everything around after awhile to completely switch it up.

For me, it's hard to work in a confined space because you naturally have to tuck things away when you're not using them. But when they are tucked away, you forget about them. So I've been struggling to focus at my home studio.

Thankfully, I ended up finishing my painting "She told me, 'Just do it, you'll walk on the stars' " for EUPHORIA that is on view at Alice Gauvin Gallery curated by Ryan and Rachel Adams. And, I finished her sister painting "I almost went to another planet with you" to show at the Buoy Gallery for their 14th Annual ARTPM. I also just about finished up a commission piece I have been working on.

While I was there, I also took the time to finally work through a journal that I started in February of 2021 and just recently finished at the beginning of this year. I've been continuing to develop my creative process to pull from my own writing which feels important in the ways I want to communicate. The words reveal something to me, so that the marks reveal something, too. And together, they reveal something even more unknown. I think I used to believe that the marks would reveal something on their own, which they do, but sometimes they aren't enough. And I am recognizing that moment in my process. I think a lot of it comes from having the courage to communicate where a lot of times, I suppress. My process fluctuates between those points where expression in its purest form builds up to the need for communication, not just longing for, and it relies on my own articulation and reflection in my work.

This was sort of a break through for me in the last few months and the time and space during this residency has allowed me to push through with this process. So far, it's been really rewarding.

Aside from that, I listened to a lot of music. I listened on repeat to The Marias' Superclean Vol. 1 & 2 and Hurray for the Riff Raff's Life on Earth. I've also been transfixed by Lou Val's new song off his latest release Goûter+ "Raindown" and it always brings me to tears in some way or another. So amongst days spinning in the rolling chair, basking in the studio sunlight, eating a lot of Trader Joe's frozen meals, I spent a lot of nights there painting, singing, crying, napping, writing, and taking things off the wall, only to tack them back up.

Raquel P Miller, Residency Room at SPACE Gallery Portland, Maine

Above: My wall on the last days of my residency.

Below: Some process photos of works I nearly completed, or only just begun.

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