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."


Don’t miss out on meeting these artists this winter:



In collaboration with the New Gallery of Modern Art in Charlotte, NC, the Miller Gallery hosts “Fire&Grace,” an all-star show of internationally recognized artists featuring Jo Hay, Hunt Slonem, and Shepard Fairey. New works by British-American artist Hay include pieces from her recent series “Persisters,” depicting societal influencers like Rachael Maddow and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

“‘Persisters’ is an ongoing series of portrait paintings of outstanding women who have made an impression with their tenacious resolve to succeed in their pursuit of justice. I chose Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second female justice of the US Supreme Court, for her lifelong support of gender equality and equal rights coupled with her bravery in speaking out when fearing the country is in danger,” says Hay. Hay was also recently featured in “Queer and Now” at theTate of London.

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


She is Juiced


Documentary Short Directed by Lois Norman exploring the works of Artists Jo Hay, Ope Lori, Peta Lily and Sarah Jane Moon.


Lois Norman is a British/Australian Creative Artist, whose work focuses on the bravery and diversity of the human condition. Primarily, using the Female word and image as a lens, she explores and questions the truth of who we are and the strength it takes to be all of who we can dare to be. She has developed a form of film that she terms Creative Documentary: a fuse of interview and the tastes of experimental film.

Her short documentary: Drawing on Speech which was created in collaboration with Tate Curator and Artist Michele Fuirer, was screened at Tate Britain and Tate Modern 2014/2015 and she has was invited to screen her first feature Creative Documentary, She Is Juiced, exploring the works of Artists Jo Hay, Ope Lori, Peta Lily and Sarah Jane Moon at Tate Britain in June 2017, as part of the ground-breaking Queer Britain Exhibition and the London Pride launch 2017.

More information: Official Selection 2018 Amsterdam



By Connelly Hardaway Charleston City Paper, Wed, December  20, 2017

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

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

One of Charleston's newest contemporary art galleries, Miller Gallery, presents an all-star lineup of artists in its upcoming February exhibit, Fire&Grace, in collaboration with the New Gallery of Modern Art of Charlotte, NC. 

The exhibit focuses on works by Hay, incorporating both her human and rabbit portraits, as well as works from her latest series, Persisters, which depicts societal influencers like Rachael Maddow and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Hay received her MFA from the New York Academy of Fine Art and was recently featured in Queer and Now at the Tate of London.

Hay's "lush" rabbits complement the sparse lines of Slonem's bunny series. According to a press release, Slonem wakes up each day and "warms up" by painting bunnies, finishing his pieces off with well-worn, repurposed, frames. The press releases also promises, "Relevant and visually powerful statements by Hay and Fairey will juxtapose the light-hearted rabbits created by roster artist Jo Hay and New Gallery of Modern Art’s Hunt Slonem." 

Fairey, as you probably know, is a Charleston native, best known as the artist by Obama's 2008 campaign "Hope" poster. You can see his murals in spots around town — check the building across from The Daily, as well as CofC's College Lodge on Calhoun Street. 

Source: Charleston City Paper Culture Shock