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Harland Miller: Overcoming Optimism

Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh until January 26th 2013
4 stars
If the Obscene Publications Squad are on the case of this first solo 
exhibition in Scotland by a York-born painter possessing a name like a pulp 
fiction hack, rest easy. Ellison’s monumental depictions of dog-eared 
Penguin book designs down the decades may look like the sort of 
behind-the-counter smut peddled under plain cover, but it’s the titles 
themselves that show off the real art of fiction.

On the one hand, epic tomes such as the punk-inspired ‘Fuck Art, Let’s 
Dance’, the scientifically inclined ‘Incurable Romantic Seeks Dirty 
Filthy Whore’ and the possible Off-Broadway smash, ‘Born to Get it in 
the Tits Every Single Day Though’ are masterpieces of cock-snooking 
fantasy-wish-fulfilment obscenity a la Joe Orton’s adventures in 
Islington library.

Beyond pop savvy fun and games and the Rude Kid style relish with which 
sweary-words are employed to flirt with the forbidden (as with 
old-school porn emporiums, the rudest title here is kept under lock and 
key), lies a darkly subversive intent. In what looks like the filthiest 
library in the world, try shushing that one up.

The List, December 2012



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