Sheila Miles has been painting for over 40 years. Her “Really Rural” exhibition at the Triangle L Ranch Adobe Barn Gallery show complex and hidden compositions in the seemingly simplest of places. Her paintings make the ordinary extraordinary and depict the beauty of the unnoticed; representing the ambience of a place and time that has a special, memorable, or familiar iconic presence.
Miles finds inspiration in her collection of over 70,000 photos saved from trips throughout the West. She and her husband drive the “slow roads” in Arizona, New Mexico, Montana, Idaho, California and Nevada. She might shoot 3000 photos in a day and every day, goes into her studio to discover the photo she wants to paint. Many of the settings in her “Really Rural” exhibition are ranches and homesteads in and around Oracle, Arizona - her home since 2020.
Many of the places Sheila paints are rural scenes that include abandoned buildings that have a long history. She’s attracted to places forgotten and asks “who lived there, how did they live, how did it end?” She sees evidence of years of patching or cobbling together the parts of the structures and in many cases are seen as a testament to survival in harsh conditions. Their history is contained in surfaces and textures and the partially "erased" history of the pentimento of an earlier time.She focuses on capturing light and shadow and the abstract qualities in the puzzling shapes that warp over a surface. Sheila uses colors and tones, along with bright contrasting whites and shadows created by the hot sun.
The paintings are about Miles way of seeing.
Sheila Miles has exhibited in over 300 exhibitions and 150 of her works are included in such public collections as the New Mexico Arts in Public Places, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Provincetown Art Association and Museum, Yellowstone Art Museum and Missoula Museum of the Arts. Her work has been purchased twice by the State of New Mexico for the Artist in Public Places Program and she was recently selected for the $35,000-$125,000 Large Scale Purchases. She was also a San Francisco Public West Coast Artist for the Public Arts Projects and in 1999 she received the Gottlieb Foundation grant ($20,000).
Educated at Purdue University she earned Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in Art in Painting and Drawing. In the summer of 1974 she received a full scholarship to the Hans Hofmann School of Art to study in a summer program with Victor Candell and Leo Manso in Provincetown, Massachusetts. After almost 5 years in Provincetown she lived in NYC before living in Montana for 26 years. After a vibrant art career in Montana, Miles lived in Santa Fe for 15 years until moving to Oracle, AZ in 2020.
In addition to her art career she was Director of the Provincetown Art Association and Museum (1974-1977), Senior Curator at the Yellowstone Art Museum (1986-1990), Adjunct Instructor at MSU (Billings), MSU (Bozeman) and UMT (Missoula) and for over 25 years as a Montana Arts Council Roster Artist. She was also a full-time resident artist for the Montana Arts Council in Miles City, MT (1983-1984) and a past panel member and MAP Artist.
Since 2015 she has had 4 Museum exhibitions and in 2023 she will have a major, one person exhibition at the Yellowstone Art Museum, Billings, Montana.