They say everything is bigger in Texas. Anaxyrus speciosus otherwise known as the “Texas Toad” is a type of toad native to the lone-star state and also functions as the state’s official amphibian. Oddly, until I looked at Bucky Miller’s new monograph “Grackle Actions” which doubles as a show of the same name I hadn’t noticed the visual similarity between Texas toast and the Texas toad. An elaborate riddle, Grackle Actions does something photobooks don’t do often these days. It develops its very own vernacular that any viewer worth their salt will become aware of.
Appearing to be an amateur zoologist/biologist Miller’s eye quickly reveals his passion for the animal kingdom. Funnily, Miller juxtaposes these images of animals, with various loaves of bread, and chairs. Firstly, I ask myself, “what does someone do with an animal, bread, and a chair?” Well, chairs are for sitting, bread is for eating, and animals are their own thing. One would assume that an individual could sit in a chair and feed an animal bread. However, I don’t think that is what Miller is necessarily getting at. In fact, I believe he is saying something entirely different.
Chairs have been in existence since the early Dynastic period in Egypt. Bread, is said to be over 30,000 years old. Texas toast, is said to have been created in the 1920’s at Kirby’s Pig Stand in Dallas, Texas. Essentially, what I am trying to get at is Bucky Miller has an interest in both the contemporary, the ancient, and the communication that occurs between the two.
Baby birds appear the size of thumbs in a nest atop a fire alarm positioned just behind a surveillance camera, a set of baby birds seem to be squawking while another in flight darts towards the nest. This is the type of image Miller chooses and willfully renders, this is also reality. In turn, Miller gestures to the viewer with a trio of towels adorned with a chimpanzee’s likeness printed bleed suspended from a rod presented upside down.
A myriad of other animals pass through the frame. Miller yields raccoons, black cats, stone statues of horses, pictures of Afghan hounds and positions them amongst objects both familiar and alien. Clues reveal themselves slowly and Miller’s mythos in Grackle Actions evolves like the tide in the Gulf of Mexico, slow and sweet.
Ultimately, the toast, the loaf, and the chair, in Miller’s mind are something that should be experienced. Grackle Actions is a monograph that requires multiple looks and proves to reward the viewer the more they choose to participate. If you’re looking for something brilliant and challenging look no further.
website: Bucky Miller
Faebook: Bucky Miller
review by Christian Michael Filardo