"Eleanore Mikus's shadows of the real are tablets made between 1960 and 1968 and again in the 1980s after a hiatus of almost fifteen years. They are concerned with making illusions real by pushing the surfaces of her paintings to the point where they are capable of casting shadows. This art is informed by Zen Buddhism, which began to fascinate Americans after World War II and became an active force in both the artistic and the literary world. Zen enabled Americans to find universals in their everyday world. They appreciated its irreverence, humor, toughness, and ability to shock people into an understanding of the real. They liked the fact that Zen was a nonmystical mysticism, a nonorthodox belief, and a nonsanctimonious way of achieving enlightenment; in short, they liked Zen because it opened life up to direct experience and meaning. Zen encouraged artists to avoid the pretentiousness of many styles of modern art as they examined ways that works of art could seem to be mere objects and yet remain stirring metaphors. Their understanding of Zen allows them to distill the everyday into a style and at the same time avoid the vulgarity of the new designs intended for the prosperous postwar American masses.
Although Mikus differs in remarkable ways from minimalists Carl Andre, Donald Judd, and Robert Morris, particularly in her regard for her materials and her refusal to see her work as blank, vacant, and boring, she does share their interest in reducing artistic means to only a few elements in order to slow down perception and thought. In her art she wants to encourage appreciation for the small moments of life, when one stares almost absentmindedly at weathered pavement, worn bricks, shells on a beach, and water-washed stones. Her work anticipates many aspects of mainstream minimalism, canonized in Barbara Roses's "ABC Art" of 1965, but it also represents a refinement of the English constructionist Ben Nicholson's work, particularly his carved Masonic reliefs, which Mikus admires. Her low-key aesthetic requires viewers to take the necessary time to come to terms with small moments capable of catalyzing important epiphanies. It represents a quiet voice in the midst of the raucous hype of post-World War II mass prosperity and a calm that rises above much of the noise generated by advertising and idolization of the new. She names her works, tablets, referring to the fact that people "from childhood...carry... some sort of notational record." She composes them of pieces of wood that are worked to suggest long-term use. These works, through their association with change, wear, and endurance, are symbols for human resiliency."
(R. Hobbs and J. Bernstock, Eleanore Mikus: Shadows of the Real, Groton House, Ithaca, 1991, pp.15-16.)