Whitney Miller was among the earliest batch of students who attended the Jamaica School of Art and Crafts during the 1950s, and he graduated in 1963 as one of the first students to receive a diploma. Initially, he wanted to be a sculptor and was taught and encouraged by the late Edna Manley, but eventually he developed into a painter of figure compositions that the critic Andrew Hope has described as having ‘classical harmony and serenity’ (Andrew Hope, The Sunday Gleaner 1 October 1989).
Along with fellow-student, Christopher Gonzales, he won a scholarship in 1965 to study in Denmark. On his return he took up a teaching post at Manchester High School but also maintained his friendships with Kingston colleagues, George Rodney and Keith Curwin. The three artists shared studio space initially on Constant Spring Road and then Beechwood Avenue, and although Whitney Miller continued to teach in the countryside, he would travel to Kingston every weekend to paint there.
Like his temperament, his paintings are quiet, placid compositions of everyday life in Kingston, normally with only one or two substantial figures. His women are solid and ‘matisse-like’ demeters that betray the artists interest in sculpture and three dimensional forms, whereas his men are equally solid but not as imposing. If there is tension in his work it is between the materiality of his paintings and their surreal stillness. Whitney Miler’s work in scale, subject matter and execution showed all the signs of greatness, however his death in 1988 robbed Jamaica of one of its best genre painters. PA-S 2000