Auckland-based Peter Miller has been a practicing artist since 1993. After moving to Auckland, Miller studied life drawing with Peter Waddell and Matthew Browne at Outreach (Artstation) 1993-95 and in 1998, Miller graduated with a Diploma in Visual Arts from Manukau Institute of Technology. He was recently included in Warwick Brown's 2009 publication Seen this Century: 100 Contemporary New Zealand Artists. Miller works in oils and graphite pencil.
While Miller's subject matter is diverse, primarily he seeks to elevate everyday objects to fine art status; in doing so he continues the work of those artists who first rejected the privilege of the monarchy and aristocracy whose demand for portraiture dominated art practice prior to the modern era. Instead Miller’s expertise is employed in realising painstakingly executed images of domestic items such as cups, saucers and wine glasses on the window sill. Many of these are cracked or chipped which may point to the revelry of the night before. In some cases, however, it signals the fractures within family life and society at large. Overall, in his images of well-worn crockery, Miller hints at the transience of life and to the ephemerality of both our presence and our purpose, domestic or otherwise.
Miller explains that the origin of much of his work lies in the Dutch Vanitas still life paintings of the 16th and 17th centuries. Miller writes “the Vanitas painters used strong iconic symbolism within their paintings to indicate the transient nature of life and the futility and insignificance of mankind's pursuits in the face of passing time. I have chosen to play with same theme, but to reinvent it in a more subtle and personal manner, in the process creating a new reading relative to modern times and open to influence by individual interpretations. The paintings of toys hark back to a past era (although not so past for many of us). The state of wear and tear of these toys gives a physical indication of the passing time and of a childhood past. These toys (or images of same) can invoke memories, of individual moments perhaps and associated events (both pleasant and unpleasant), and, also more general nostalgic feelings of a never to be repeated part of life, childhood, a time of simplicity and security.”