Present and Retro

We are thrilled to offer two very special guided exhibition tours of Present and Retro, led by “The Grizzled Wizard” himself. Join us on August 6 at 5:30 p.m. and August 7 at 2 p.m. and listen to P.R. Miller share stories about some of his most pivotal works on display. The tours will be limited to 35 attendees and are first-come, first-served.

Click here for the Facebook event for August 6

Click here for the Facebook event for August 7



BETTY AND HOWARD TAYLOR MAIN GALLERY

The one and only P.R. Miller showcases his life’s work in Present and Retro, on view from July 10 – September 25. Experience the evolution of his work in this retrospective exhibition and witness his three principal identities as a junk man, artist, and wizard.  

P.R., known as “The Grizzled Wizard”, recycles scraps and reimagines them as large-scale, whimsical sculptures often inspired by the natural environment, especially bugs and flowers. His goal is to alter the viewer’s reality, and he does so by making someone else’s trash into treasure. He has spent his life rescuing rubbish from the landfill and converting it into his signature pieces. P.R. is best known for public sculptures in notable places throughout Akron, including The Frog, perched outside of the Highland Square Branch of the Akron-Summit County Public Library, which was created from 1 ton of industrial recycled steel. 

Hailing from Mars, Pennsylvania, P.R. worked out of his home studio in Akron for many years before moving to Blueberry Hill Farms located outside of Loudonville, Ohio. Present and Retro includes works made from glass, metal, clay, and more, chronicling the artist’s journey over the course of his decades-long career. 

Visit the Welcome Gallery, across the hall, to see photographs of his public sculptures and to view The Grizzled Wizard of Waste Not Want Not, a motion portrait film by Joshua Tree Productions. 

Explorations in Glass 

P.R. Miller’s initial fascination with glass began during the 1950s. “I grew up in a junkyard, so we would burn three or four cars every weekend,” he explains. When the automobiles were burned and recycled, the glass would melt and puddle. P.R. collected 24 pieces of glass which were extremely beautiful— “I was too young to understand what beautiful meant,” he says— and 1951 Buick is the only one of those 24 pieces that remains. In 1975, he studied stained glass with Jean Boardman, who introduced him to Fritz Dreisbach, a contemporary of world-renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly. Dreisbach invited P.R. to the Penland School of Crafts, where the first three days P.R. was ready to quit because he couldn’t keep the molten glass on the end of a pipe. Perseverance paid off because six weeks later, on the final night of the session, he had the glass shop all to himself for six hours. “The last night of the session is usually party night, and I’m not a party person, so I went to the glass shop,” P.R. said. He created all five of the other pieces on the table in that single evening.  

Practicing Pottery 

P.R. Miller’s first experience with clay was as a freshman at Mars High School (Pennsylvania) in 1962, where he produced the Neanderthal Man. At The University of Akron, he was introduced by Dr. Emily Davis to the pottery department. In 1992, he worked in the pottery studio of Rosemary Benson in Canal Fulton, and a decade later, he returned to The University of Akron and studied with Donna Webb, where he made many of the ceramic bowls that are included in this retrospective. In 2021, P.R. re-entered ceramics in Loudonville and is currently doing mud work at the Massillon Museum.  

Reclaiming Wood 

The junkyard where P.R. grew up was surrounded by woods, and there was a logging operation there before his father purchased the land. This was P.R.’s first exposure to composting woodWizard’s Tree Spirit was a giant oak tree that was cut down to make room for a parking lot. P.R. thought the shape suggested a face, and the piece is his “first real attempt at doing rough carving.” P.R. anthropomorphizes trees, creating works such as Six Months Poignant. This striking female form and My Best Table Yet were both completed in 2021, demonstrating P.R.’s decades-long fascination with repurposing wood and trees. P.R. is currently working on a twelve-and-a-half-foot long dragon made from black walnut. 


If you are interested in purchasing any artwork from this exhibition please contact Natalie Grieshammer

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1

Spin Painting
rule die, plywood, paint, c. 2002
$500
 

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2

Take it with a Grain of Salt
plywood, paint, and stain, c. 1968
on loan from S.A. Smilek
 

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3

Pegasus
 paint on canvas, c. 1969
on loan from S.A. Smilek
 

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4a The Bugly Bug
hand-blown glass and found metal objects, c. 2004
$350
 

4b  The Ginormous Bonsai Plant Stand
oak and Rubbermaid plastic purging, c. 1998
$500
 

4c  The Wizard’s Worm Wanders Away
found objects, 2004
$225
 

4d   Avocado and Mustard Table
Rubbermaid plastic purging and found object, 2003
$150
 

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5a   Wizard’s Tree Spirit
oak wood, 1982
NFS
 

5b   Non-Racially Offensive Albino Frog
plaster, 1964
NFS
 

5c   Flower Vase
found objects, 2021
$300

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6

Try Banana Juice with your S&H Green Stamps
rule die, mailer sampler, found objects, 2003
$450 OBO
  

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7

Redhead Bug Lamp
brass chandelier armature, aluminum lathe turnings, found objects, c. 2004
$500
 

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8a   Untitled
tiger maple, pine, and aluminum, 1969
$150
 

8b   Neanderthal Man
ceramic and wood, 1962
NFS
 

8c   My Best Table Yet
cedar and red oak wood, 2021
$1,750

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9a   Ceramic bowl
2021
$100
 

9b   Halloween Table
Rubbermaid plastic purging and steel base, 2021
$500

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10a   Large ceramic vases with metal flowers
$200 ea. 

10b   Small ceramic vases with metal flowers
$125 ea.

10c   Large ceramic vases
$60 ea.

10d   Ceramic leaves
$25 ea.

10e   Ceramic bowls
$300 ea.

10f   Tulip ceramic platter
$100

10g   Leaf platter
$150 

10h   Table
metal simplex and red oak wood
$1,000
 

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11

Six Months Poignant
red oak wood, 2021
$1,000
 

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12

Red Lobster Lamp and Ocean Table
plastic purging from Ford Motor Company, brass from a radiator manufacturer, filigreed lampshades, 2005
$1,500
 

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13

Untitled
rule die and paint, 2002
$300
 

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14a   Ceramic Bowl
2002
$300
 

14b   Table
Rubbermaid plastic purging and cable, 2002
$300
 

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15

Untitled
stainless-steel sawblade and paint, 2004
$125 

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16a   Ceramic Bowl
 2002
$400
 

16b   Aztec Calendar Table
found objects, 2021
$300

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17

Untitled
stainless-steel sawblade and paint, 2004
$150 

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18a   Ceramic Vase
2002
$100
 

18b   Table
Rubbermaid and found metal, 2021
$200
 

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 19a   Cactus Bowl with Cactus
2002
$250 

19b   Schramm Table
air compressor grill, aluminum lathe turnings, 2021
$250 

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20

Sun
latch hooked yarn, c. 1976
$750
 

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21a   Ceramic Bowl
2020
$100
 

21b   Table
Rubbermaid plastic purging and coal furnace grate, 2003
$200

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22

Mom’s Iris Window I
stained glass, handblown glasses, wood, c. 1980
$1,000
 

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23

Green Cactus Vase with Cactus
2021
$150
 

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24

White Cactus Vase with Cactus
2002
$300
 

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25a   1951 Buick
melted glass and plaster, c. 1959
NFS 

25b   Blown Glass Sculptures
1980
NFS

25c   Red Table
2005
$450
 

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26 

Teal Cactus Vase with Cactus
2002
$300
 

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27

Mom’s Iris Window II
stained glass, handblown glasses, wood, c. 1980
$1,000
 

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28

Why the Chicken Should Not Cross the Road
oil paint on canvas, 1967
NFS

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29a   Ceramic Bowl
2021
$125
 

29b   Table
found wood and metal, Rubbermaid plastic purging, 2005
$500
 

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30a   Abominable Snowman
plaster and wood, 1963
NFS
 

30b   Table
Rubbermaid plastic purging, aluminum, cast iron, and steel, 2021
$250
 

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31

Starburst
latch hooked yarn, 1975
$1,000
 

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32a   Ceramic Bowl
2021
$125
 

32b   Table
aluminum, cast iron, and steel, 2021
$400
 

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33

Blue Floor Lamp
ceramic, wood, aluminum lathe turnings, found objects, 2005
$1,500
 

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34

Read-Benzol Dry Cleaner Glove Finisher
metal, wood, brass, aluminum, cast iron, 2006
$1,000
 

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35

Sun Shine Yarn Mill Sun
latch hooked yarn, 1975
$750
 

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36

Indian Tree Spirit
found wood and metal, 2006
$1,000
 

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37 

Green Floor Lamp
wood, ceramic, metal, found objects, 2005
$1,500
 

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38a   Cross-legged Table
Pine and Rubbermaid purging, steel machinery, 2005
$750
 

38b   Bob Zorgan
pipe organ interior, found objects, c. 1996
$130

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39

Wheat Stalks
latch hooked yarn, 1975
$1,000

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40

Red Lava Lamp
Ford Motor Company plastic purging, aluminum, wood, found objects, 2005
$1,000
 

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41 

Richard Nixon
paint on canvas, 1970
$500
 

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42

Amber Bug Lamp
Ford Motor Company plastic purging, aluminum, found metal objects, 2006
$750
 

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43a   Vase and Flowers
ceramic and found metal, 1968
Best Offer
 

43b   Table
found metal, 2021
$100
 

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44

Untitled
Paint on canvas, 1970
$650
 

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45

Untitled
paint on canvas, 1970
$450
 

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46a   Blue Ceramic Bowl
 2021
$225
 

46b   Table
found metal, Rubbermaid plastic purging, 2005
$100

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 Photography by Bradley Hart, Summit Artspace resident artist. For more information www.bradleyhart.com.

See the Summit Artspace exhibit schedule for show details.
Have questions? Here is our Frequently Asked Questions page.