The colorful cover of a book asks “Can I get involved in your crisis?” But you can’t read the book. It doesn’t exist. The book has never been written. Harland Miller is the author and artist behind a series of tantalizing larger-than-life prints featuring what appear to be books published in an alternate universe by a bizarro version of Penguin Press. “He makes you want to think about what is in the book, and of course it isn’t there. It’s just a cover,” says British jewelry designer Stephen Webster who is currently featuring Harland Miller’s newest series, Behaviour vs. Behaviour, in the gallery space above his Beverly Hills store.
Behaviour vs. Behaviour is a collection of silk screen and giclee prints hand-finished by Miller, making each an original, unlike his other Penguin Book Cover pieces, which have been released as a print series. With the combination of a worn cover and a mysterious title, Miller successfully conjures up an illusion in the guise of reality. The covers beg the viewer to fill in the missing pages. Rather than attempting to identify and capture an idea, Miller provides his audience with the means to make their own connections.
Los Angeles offers a special atmosphere to these two British artists. “I liked the idea of L.A. before I got here. And when I arrived the experience matched up to my expectation. It may have even surpassed it,” says Miller. “Los Angeles is a city of signage. There are a lot of words around. I think people respond to words here more than they do in other cities.” Stephen Webster, who used to live up the coast in Santa Barbara, travels the world for business but still finds L.A. to be one of his favorite places to visit. “Last week I was in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Berlin. Now, they’ve all got something to offer, but none of them do I look forward to as much as when I’m on that plane coming here.”
The spacious gallery above the store on Rodeo Drive was offices when Webster took over the lease five years ago, taken with the view offered by the tall arched windows, on the condition that he could rip out the walls, ceiling, and spiral staircase to make a public art space on the second floor. The gallery is the only one like it in all of Webster’s stores around the world and Miller’s exhibit is the latest in a run of stellar British visual artists, including Mat Collishaw and street artist D*Face, who have exhibited here.
Behaviour vs. Behaviour is on view at Stephen Webster, 202 North Rodeo Drive. Stop by to see Webster’s renowned jewelry and explore Miller’s prints.