Tucson-based artist Nancy Tokar Miller, whose over-sized paintings were saturated with come-hither colors and deconstructed images, died Tuesday morning after a decade-long battle with cancer. She was 72.
Tokar Miller is known around the country for her works, which drew from her extensive travels with her husband of nearly 50 years, Walter. The paintings, which often have almost ghostly colors punctuated by a streak of a bold red or a swatch of a bright yellow, would be inspired by a place or a plant or a pool of water, or even a kimono. But Tokar Miller loved breaking those images down.
Her "Kabuki Hem," for instance, has a movement to it, and dramatic detail, such as a thin line of yellow and jagged edges on her rich red. You can almost sense the kimono softly sweeping the floor. And yet, it has no resemblance to a kimono.
"The fun of it," said Tokar Miller in a 2009 interview with the Star about her work, "is not making it representational."
Tokar Miller grew up in California's San Fernando Valley, graduated from the University of California at Los Angeles, and earned her master's from the University of Arizona.
Though she taught off and on, her singular passion was painting in the sunlit studio behind the midtown home she and her husband shared.
"She lived for art," said Walter Miller Tuesday afternoon. "She loved art of all ways, shapes and forms. ... She was all about art."
Service arrangements have not been made.
Read a full story about Nancy Tokar Miller in Thursday's Star.