Miller Gallery's latest exhibit embraces political messages and human connections

The Art of Persisting

by Mary Scott Hardaway, Charleston City Paper, February 21, 2018
Source: Charleston City Paper

Gallerist Sarah Miller believes that art will change you, even if you don't believe it yourself. In her latest curated show, Miller has culled three seemingly disparate artists and works for one cohesive theme. "Art opens your eyes to different ideas, it sends a message without words," says Miller.

Jo Hay, Notorious RBG, Oil on canvas, 48x60"

In Fire & Grace, we find 4'x6' politically charged portraits by British-American artist Jo Hay. At that size, the brush strokes are like breaking waves, the bright pastels so rich and deep you feel as though you could dive into the canvas. In contrast, the smaller, monochromatic bunny sketches by internationally renowned artist Hunt Slonem are so simple you wonder at their genesis. And then there are the detailed silk screens, a positive and negative for each piece — the negative space in the first work is a color in the second — by now famous street artist and Charleston native Shepard Fairey.

From people to bunnies to bold graphics, all of the art in Fire & Grace is imbued with meaning: we can work towards a better world while appreciating what beauty the world still posesses. With visual art, one can gradually build a relationship with an idea, a concept, or mantra. "You're allowed to digest at your own pace," says Miller. "I love when someone comes in for the first time and they say 'Oh this isn't my style' and then by the third time they come in they're like 'Oh, I like this one.'" In an age where everyone feels compelled or obligated to make a decision, fast, to pick a side, now, it's nice to slow down and contemplate a subject.

"There's a political/social aspect to the show," says Miller, "but there's also this really beautiful side that represents humanity and all of the people and the simplicity of art, too."