Michael Fadel and Anna Miller

Sculpture and Installation Art

Eye Site, 2020

About the Artwork

“Eye Site is an outdoor sculptural installation near the Avery Point Lighthouse. Seven linked wind vanes oriented in a cylinder dance together as wind flows through the red burlap sails, causing hundreds of concrete evil eye medallions that are hanging below to gently rattle in the breeze. The form and movement of Eye Site also refers to lumbering spires of kelp growing in the Sound, specifically to kelp farming as it is suspended from similar lines to those holding the piece aloft. Its relationship with the lighthouse presents the contrast between a sturdy architectural building and a similarly shaped flowing object. Both are beacons, both are interacting with the same elements, yet their differences create a dialogue between the literal function of the building and the ephemeral concept of the sculpture.

The evil eye, an iconic protector against malicious intent, has existed for thousands of years in many cultures, including ancient Mesopotamia and Greece, South Asia, as well as African and Central American societies. It conveys ideas of superstition, diaspora, and balance, but more importantly it finds strength in cultural foundations, traditions, and values. Their superstitious purpose in deflecting jealousy and ill will away from the owner mirrors the unending encyclopedia of maritime superstitions.

We hope that this piece causes contemplation: on our superstitions representing past, our fear representing present, and our openness to understanding that should become our future. ” –Michael Fadel and Anna Miller

About the Artists

Miller and Fadel met among steel, wood, and tools in the sculpture shops at the University of Arizona—where Fadel got his MFA in sculpture—and have worked together since. Beyond their technical similarities, their conceptual interests overlap on several points from memory and identity to movement and material. Their first collaboration was a Tucson satellite exhibition for Terrain Biennial, a Chicago-based event emphasizing the union of living spaces and art.

From there, Miller attended graduate school in sculpture at Yale University, where the two kept working side by side on their own practices. Now with her MFA complete, both artists are reengaging collaboration in tandem with their solo work, living on a sailboat while sharing a studio space to facilitate their art.

Commonality is found in deeper concepts, especially identity and how it influences and is influenced by culture and family. The artists are both mixed from disparate backgrounds searching for ways to connect with their diasporic cultures and lineages. Identity ties into memory, being the background for most of their ideas, and most of those memories are in motion—as is the typical state of their sculptures.