Peter Miller

The Life of Objects

03 - 24 June 22

Peter Miller could be best described as a contemporary still life painter, although he also works outside of that genre, incorporating narrative based and large portrait work (the latter having become a strong passion for him).

The origin of his work began from study of the Dutch Vanitas painters of the 16th/17th C.whilst briefly attending art school. The intention within the work of these artists and the strong symbolism to convey the intended message struck a chord with Miller and attracted him to aspects of this work. He uses this symbolism to speak of and convey his own messages and beliefs, but with the intention of bringing the Vanitas symbolism into a more contemporary context. Peter Miller tends to use symbolism in a subtle manner through composition, colour choice, shadows and choice of object(s) to create a sense of hidden or suggested story and disquiet. This allows the viewer to bring their own story to the painting. From this starting point his work has evolved and transformed in its own time.

In his still life work he tends to play with old and damaged objects that convey a story untold and show the signs of time passing. The objects becoming signifiers of the transient nature of our existence. He also looks for and paints simple objects, objects that he sees a beauty in that may be missed by others. He is known in particular for using the New Zealand made sandcast Fun Ho toys as a subject. These toys carry a strong sense of story and history; worn and beaten from years of childhood use and abuse, but still bearing up to the passing of time in various states of battered decay.

Within his still life work he has also been drawn to aspects of the Japanese Wabi-Sabi aesthetic, celebrating the beauty of that which is old and/or damaged.

Peter has exhibited frequently since 1997 and has been a regular finalist in the major national art awards, winning the Molly Morpeth Canaday award in 2014. His work features in private collections and ownership within NZ and internationally, including several in the Wallace Trust collection based in Auckland.