Thanks to the work of the good team at Friends of Te Papa, this was a great chance to step into another “art adventure” somewhere new in Wellington.

The exhibition at Millers O’Brien gallery, 85 Victoria Street showed the work of three young New Zealand artists – Will Bennett (oil paintings), Harry Culy (photography) and Jaime Jenkins (ceramics).

The new gallery is a beautiful light-filled space on the first floor (close to Lido café), thoughtfully arranged to make best use of the wall of windows looking out upon trees and city.

We were welcomed by Jhana Millers and Laila O’Brien, the two founders of this gallery, and they skilfully facilitated our visit, introducing us to two of the three artists – Harry Culy and Will Bennett.

It was so rewarding to be able to hear some of the process of these young artists, and to be able to ask questions informally.

Harry Culy (photographer) has four black and white images in his exhibition, entitled Nobody Believe You (Bad Luck). He spoke of the genesis of his photography work in his travels around cities and New Zealand small towns (through “landscape as haunted space”) and his images are thoughtful, perceptive, asking you to stop and look again at what might be familiar, but not beautiful places he has chanced upon.

Similarly, listening to Will Bennett (artist) speak of the evolution of his own work in painting and of this exhibition of eight oil paintings upon linen entitled Always Forever Now was a joy. His still-life images of interior scenes based upon existing photographs, haunting, with skilled use of oil colours, take us into familiar domestic scenes, yet leave an aura of uncertainty about them.

Both artists generously gave their time and opened themselves to our questions, which added so much to our experience of stepping in to the new space.

The third body of work here is the ceramics of Jaime Jenkins (Tauranga) – stoneware, influenced by the natural landscape, beautifully made works both large and small – entitled Salt Pillars. One piece is a large ceramic bell hanging from the ceiling.

All three artists’ work sit well together, and it is enjoyable simply to step into the 60s-style foyer of the Milbar building with its polished stone/marble walls.

Well done to these young gallery owners and artists, to have created a new space for more art in the city.

Exhibitions closed on 1 June.

Step in off Victoria St and visit this beautiful space.

Sue Jamieson
Member, Friends of Te Papa