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Godfrey Miller: further reading

— Tuesday 14th July 2020

Portrait cropped
To coincide with our small exhibition of works by Godfrey Miller, we offer some further reading on the enigmatic artist.

He remains both fascinating and enigmatic. From a well-to-do New Zealand family he led a solitary life in Melbourne, London and, for the last 25 years, in Sydney.  An urban hermit (they find safety in the anonymity of crowded places) he had no known partner and few close friends; his main, though intermittent, social contact was with his students at ESTC where the teacher-pupil relationship maintained a suitable psychological and professional distance.

With a mere forty to fifty finished works over a lifetime, he could have fallen into the “odd ball” category – of interest to a narrow minority. Whilst such a group do form the core, he is of serious interest to a much wider circle. There are the artists, who almost universally respect his draftsmanship, and there are those critics and collectors who actively enjoy the more minimal and more suggestive results to be found in the large body of unfinished works. Numbering in the hundreds (and valued well below the six figure sums for major finished works) these are available to a broader public and have hence allowed a wider appreciation of his work to spread.

Miller’s paintings are layered. First, the underlying grid is pencilled on, then, by a slow and painstaking accretion of strokes, the image emerges. The broad and loose dating for most of his works suggest this process could take years. At a particular moment a crystalline scintillation sets the whole canvas shimmering. Taken too far this crystalline sparkle can overload both eye and mind and the aesthetic reaction can come to a halt.  Just when this point is reached is a matter of personal taste.
Continue reading Charles Nodrum's introduction to our 2010 exhibition.


Godfrey Miller passed away just over forty years ago in May 1964, yet there is no diminution of interest in his work. If anything, his reputation is higher than ever. His aphorisms and insights are equally valid and memorable.... 

"time shakes off adornment of facts...

reality is made of cadences, rhythms, materials - all that sciences ignore. 

The world is a beautiful mathematical unity which is unfolding in accord with its exact nature. If humans like or do not like to join, so much the good or bad in their future. But being a family of Nations, a family of men is a hindrance. The great tragedy of our age is that education did not [allow], and even prevented, the mind working in rhythm between whole and part. First whole, then sovereign part. We had to wait. 

The chief oversight:  that intuition to make a whole was not active and working in us, in matter of world health before we learned by instances old disease spread." 
Continue reading John Henshaw's introduction to our 2004 exhibition.


A visionary who rejected the materialism of his age, Godfrey Miller was deeply cerebral and monk-like in his quest to create work that accorded with his view of the universe as an intensely felt, shimmering kaleidoscope in continual flux. Exploring geometric abstraction, he echoed the rhythms of life in paintings of immense graphic complexity, which he completed gradually over long periods of up to a decade. Continue reading the Art Gallery of New South Wales' profile of the artist, and browse through works in their collection.


Since its establishment in 1984, the Charles Nodrum Gallery’s exhibition program embraces a diversity of media and styles - from painting, sculpture & works on paper to graphics and photography; from figurative, geometric, gestural, surrealist & social comment to installation & conceptually based work.