My ART | Gallerist: Jhana Millers

Gallerist: Jhana Millers

Gallerist: Jhana Millers

Are you a gallerist or an art dealer?

I would use these terms interchangeably. I own and run a contemporary dealer gallery with a focus on presenting and selling compelling works of art, in a range of mediums. I seek out artists to represent with the intention of building long-term relationships and supporting their practice.

Why did you open your gallery?

I initially trained as an artist and have a Master of Fine Arts. I have worked in many other galleries and organisations including 30upstairs, The Wellington Sculpture Trust, the Venice Biennale and more recently co-organised Fired Up: Festival of Ceramics in Wellington. Through all these experiences I have a skill set perfectly suited to running a gallery.

After 30upstairs closed, I decided to open my own gallery and continue working proactively with artists, rather than pursue my own art career. I also wanted to have autonomy. This meant the gallery needed to be a dealer (commercial) gallery, rather than another non-profit gallery or artist-run space.

If you could own any work of art, what would it be?

Denys Watkins, Lemonhead (2018). It’s big, bright and bold and a great example of his mastery of colour, shape and form. Denys’ fascination and curiosity about the world comes through so well in his paintings and I find them captivating.

Identify a common misconception about collecting, and help us set the record straight?

That you have to have a lot of money to collect art. I work with a lot of new collectors who are often making their first or second purchases. People can use My Art or make a lay-by arrangement with the gallery. I also show a lot of young artists whose work is still very affordable, so purchasing their works is a great option for new collectors. We also work with buying groups, informal collective art-buying initiatives in which a group of individuals (usually friends) allocate a set amount of money each month and take turns to buy works and share the artworks between them.

What was the last work of art you bought?

My husband, Simon, and I purchased Kāryn Taylor’s Square Circle Halved from the gallery recently. It is the first red work I saw of Kāryn’s and we find it completely absorbing. The red of the work chimes beautifully with the exposed timber of our house and sits between two large windows that frame our view of Wellington’s South Coast. We love it.

April 2020
Jhana Millers is the owner and director of Jhana Millers Gallery, Wellington.
Photo: Thomas Searbud for Homestyle Magazine