The luminous, exuberant abstract canvases by Nachume Miller on view in "Suns and Illusions" belie the fact that the artist worked on them during the last six months of his life, when he was fully aware that his final days were near. The German-born, New York painter was 49 when he died last year of a brain tumor. Miller's imagery is based on forms found in nature, sunbeams and the play of refracted light in water. Some of the canvases recall aquatic scenes, such as fields of undulating coral or anemones, illuminated by shimmering rays of sunlight.
Among the many high points of the show is a large canvas in which streaks of white traversing the composition emanate from a white orb, perhaps a blistering hot sun. Sinuous strokes of red and orange snake along the opposite edge of the canvas. They hint at some strange species of plant. In other paintings, colored bands of light crisscross the surface in complex patterns. These visionary works were obviously produced by an artist who never lost faith in the primacy of nature nor in the transcendent potential of painting.
Nachume Miller "Suns and Illusions," Nov. 23- Dec. 30, 1999, at Donahue/Sosinski, 560 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10012.