The Miller Gallery blazes a trail as Charleston’s best gallery for whimsical, fun, inspiring art


Kate Hooray Osmond, Field Vision, mixed-media on panel, 24″ x 24″

While Charleston has more art galleries per capita than any other city in the country, most of them lean toward traditional fine art and sculpture. As the city grows and welcomes visitors and new residents from a broader range of geographies, including Europe, demand for contemporary and pop art is increasing.

For the last seven years, The Miller Gallery has been Charleston’s go-to for artwork that’s more whimsical, colorful and fun. The gallery represents 33 American artists, 90% of whom are women, and one international artist. “We like to represent artists who are unique voices and great storytellers. We offer work that is fun and whimsical, and more of a mix of pop art and contemporary art than other galleries in town,” says Kayla Twomey Flamman, The Miller Gallery’s owner and director. “People want to add artwork that inspires or brings joy to their life, and we’re here to help.”

And where else in Charleston can you find giant resin gummy bears in a rainbow of colors or cement cupcakes dripping with resin icing embedded with unicorns? These sweet sculptures are the work of Olivia Bonilla, a local artist whose openings always draw crowds. Then there are ceramic donuts by Liv Antonecchia, a serious ceramicist with a serious sense of humor. While Antonecchia became an overnight sensation with her wall-mounted pastry collections, she also creates contemporary sculptures in biomorphic or industrial shapes.

Layered wood and resin assemblages by Angela Chrusciaki Blehm take the shape of lollipops, lips, ribbons, hearts and abstract compositions. Blehm’s work is as pop art as it gets, with a side of girl power.

Another of the gallery’s foundational artists, Kate Hooray Osmond, is known for her vivid geometric landscapes and abstracts in unusual but tight color palettes. Hooray Osmond’s work is inspired by her interior journey—and time spent hanging out of helicopters to take photos.

Charlotte Fraser’s large-format paintings of beetles, moths and flowers satisfy collectors who prefer representational work that also makes a bold statement.

Liv Antonecchia, Ceramic Donut Sculptures, hand-formed ceramic and glaze, 4″ x 4″ each

The Miller Gallery isn’t just on the leading edge of contemporary art; it’s on the leading edge of a new model for art galleries. Two years ago, it shifted to a hybrid model that leans heavily on its online presence. “We realized we were shipping 80% of the work we sold, so investing in our website just made sense,” Twomey Flamman says. “Our online store is open 24-7, so collectors near and far can shop any time.”

For those who like to see art in person, all of the artwork lives in the gallery’s headquarters on Meeting Street. The space serves as a place for consultations, in-person events, open houses and artist talks. It’s open by appointment Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and once a month, it hosts an open house so people can come in and browse at will.

Olivia Bonilla, Fluorescent Pink Gummy, cement, resin and automotive pigment, 10″ x 5″ x 5″

The gallery also has a rotation with The Vendue, Charleston’s popular art hotel, where artwork is switched out every quarter. It also has an annual residency with Hed Hi Studio for a weeklong, themed group show. “We do pop-ups around town and collaborate with other businesses to create new experiences for art lovers,” Twomey Flamman says. “I like where we’re headed with this hybrid model; I think it’s the future for some galleries. Last year, we shipped art to 43 states and seven countries. We’re seeing people become more comfortable making large purchases online.”

Coming up this spring is an exhibition of work by Angela Chrusciaki Blehm, Julia Deckman and Suzy Lindow entitled Down the Rabbit Hole. On April 19, the gallery will open a group show at Hed Hi Studio called The Playlist. For this show, each artist will create a work inspired by a song. June’s event will feature five local artists for a Charleston-inspired show. Expect vibrant, organic tablescapes from Rachael Nerney and landscapes from Kate Hooray Osmond.

Charlotte Fraser, Magnolia 4, acrylic on panel, 24″ x 36″

If you’re out of town, you can browse the gallery’s complete collection online. It offers full-service in-person and online consulting, including mocking up artwork in your space and sending video collections of work you’re interested in. If you’re in town, visit the gallery by appointment or check out upcoming shows on the events page of its website.

Angela Chrusciaki Blehm, Late Summer Dinner Party, mixed-media assemblage, 51.5″ x 35″ x 3.5″

“I’m excited for the path we’re on,” Twomey Flamman says. “Last year, we had eight public exhibitions, 11 pop-ups and installations, and 19 online releases. We also supported eight charities and repurposed 850 pounds of packing materials. We’re looking forward to even more fun and sharing the joy of art this year.” *

Robin Howard is a freelance writer in Charleston.
See more of her work at robinhowardwrites.com.

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