Auckland based artist Peter Miller produces contemporary paintings in the genres of still life and portraiture. Miller was born in Waikato in 1955, but as a young adult moved to Auckland to connect with the local painting scene. He studied life drawing under Peter Waddell and Matthew Browne and also Visual Art at the Manukau Institute of Art and Design School. Today, Miller produces his paintings from his central Auckland studio near Queen Street.
Miller’s work found its beginnings in the Dutch Vanitas of the 16th and 17th century. This style of art was the strongest influence on his direction during his art school years, due to his own intense interest in human existence and mortality. While Miller’s style has developed over the years away from more literal interpretations of the Dutch Vanitas, the concept of the transience of human existence still underpins much of his work.
In Miller’s still life series, the worn, damaged and broken objects come to indicate the impermanence of material possessions and the fragile quality of life itself. Works that feature toys, such as the iconic Fun Ho! toys unique to NZ, represent the passing of childhood. These works provoke a sense of nostalgia for a youth lost, no longer attainable, a time of innocence and simplicity.
Recently, Miller has found pleasure in portrait work, exploring the challenge of finding the essence of the person portrayed- that invisible quality that brings life to the painting. The neutral backgrounds of his still life series are applied to his portraits, serving to isolate and focus our attention on the sitter.
Peter Miller has been a regular finalist in some of New Zealand’s most prestigious art awards - most recently winning the Molly Morpeth Canady Art Award and a being awarded as a finalist in the Wallace Art Awards. His work features in public and private collections across Europe, USA and Australasia, including a number of works in the James Wallace Arts Trust in Auckland.
Peter Miller produces contemporary paintings in the genres of still life and portraiture. His works explore the impermanence of material possessions and allude to the fragile quality of life itself.