Max Miller

M a x   M i l l e r

Near Arcoola Creek, Tibooburra

My heritage of country gave me a connection to and love of wilderness, especially reinforced by the spirituality of my indigenous heritage. My studies at Julian Ashton School gave me a love of the classical, tonality and line. My studies at St. Martins School of Arts, London, gave me a love of the abstract and also printmaking.

Where we live is a world of vines, seeds and wildflowers, butterflies, moths, and spiders, wild vines entwined with trees, shrubs, and many birds, large and small, all interspersed together — a menagerie of existence with the wonderful mathematics and abstraction of such. I love the detail of the microcosm and its intrinsic relationship with the universe and life’s spirituality therein. I see no reason why I should separate my studies of natural things and that of my abstract world. To me, they are intertwined.

Born in Wellington, NSW, of Wiradjuri, English and Irish heritage, Max Miller spent his boyhood on the family farm in Yeoval, a small, rural town in Central Western New South Wales, which instilled in him an enduring affinity for the Australian bush and its minutiae. At the age of 18, he had gained employment in a bank in Dubbo but his insatiable quest for knowledge of art eventually led him to abandon his job three years later and move to Sydney, where he studied painting and drawing at Julian Ashton Art School and later at East Sydney Technical College (now the National Art School) under the tutelage of Linden Dadswell and John Ogden. Subsequently, he undertook further studies in sculpture at Hammersmith School of Art and in painting and printmaking at St Martins School of Art in London under Alan Reynolds and Henry Mundy.

Upon his return to Australia, Miller worked with various printmakers and taught art part-time at the National Art School until 1976, when he relocated to Kangaloon in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales. There, he established a print studio, producing his own art while also editioning for many of Australia’s most illustrious artists, including Lloyd Rees, Arthur Boyd, John Olsen, Clifton Pugh, Cedric Emmanuel and Frank Hodgkinson. In the ensuing four decades, Miller forged a formidable reputation not only as one of Australia’s pre-eminent painters but also as a master printmaker.

Since 1970, Miller has exhibited extensively in Australia, New Zealand, England, Scotland, Ireland, Switzerland, Norway and Japan.

His awards include the Wynne Trustees’ Watercolour Prize, Art Gallery of New South Wales (1977, 2015); the James Kiwi National Watercolour Prize, Wollongong Regional Art Gallery (2012); the Nundle Art Prize (2003); the Sutherland Art Prize (1979); the Berrima Art Prize (1984, 1986); the Wollongong Art Prize (1979); the Camden Art Prize (1984); the City of Hamilton, Victoria, Watercolour Prize (1977) and the Victorian Arts Board Grant (1978).

Miller’s work is represented in public corporate and private collections throughout Australia and internationally, including the Australian National Gallery, Canberra; Parliament House Collection, Canberra; Skopje Museum of Contemporary Art, Macedonia; Norwegian Museum of Contemporary Prints, Fredrikstad; the Philip Morris Collection, USA; Artbank, Sydney; Kedumba Drawing Collection; Family Law Courts, Canberra; Bank of Tokyo, Japan; Australian National University, Canberra; Australian Broadcasting Commission, South Australia; Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Tasmania, and New England Regional Art Museum, Armidale, NSW.

Elected a member of the Australian Watercolour Institute in 2016, Max Miller lives and works in East Kangaloon, Southern Highlands, New South Wales.

Copyright © Australian Watercolour Institute