Meet the Curator: Millie Foster

For our annual Winter Auction, Art on a Postcard has invited six guest curators - we will be introducing each curator with a short interview. Each curator's mini auction will be open from 9-23 November via Dreweatts Auction House alongside Art on a Postcard's main auction. 

This week we sat down with Millie Foster, director of Gillian Jason Gallery.


As a gallerist, what fuels your inspiration when selecting artists or themes for exhibitions?

When selecting artists for Gillian Jason Gallery to work with, there are three main questions that I ask myself. First, does looking at the artwork resonate with me enough to evoke an emotion? Second, does the artist have intellectually and/or culturally rigorous themes that provide a concept towards the way they create? And third, is there visible consistency within the practice? The combination of these answers help me shape how I work with the artist and where to place them within the gallery programme.

When it comes to exhibitions, each show must fit similar criteria to the above. All exhibitions at GJG are accompanied by a text on the wall and full catalogue, which provides rationales and academic weight to every selected for the show. While I solely work with female identifying artists, not every exhibition needs to have a feminist theme. Rather, it is about supporting each individual artist to make their passions and interests a reality.

Could you provide a brief overview of your career in the art world? How did you arrive at your current position?

While I started in the Finance & Tech industries, I had grown up around my Grandmother’s art dealership. Gillian was a pioneer in the Modern British movement, an intellectual woman with a formidable presence. When my Grandmother retired a few years ago, it felt like a calling to re-open the gallery in her name. My mother and co-Director, Elli and I wanted to honour Gillian’s pioneering legacy by shifting the focus of the gallery to solely champion art by women. Having worked in the art industry for half a decade, and with a Masters in Art Business from Sotheby’s, I am confident about furthering stable careers for women across the art sector.

At AOAP we are always keen to champion emerging talent. What rising stars are you most excited about in your auction?

It was really important to me that every artist that I selected for AoaP is an emerging female artist to watch. To name a few, Phoebe Evans, Daisy Collingridge, Zarina Khan, Hope Turnbull and Daisy Collingridge. Each artwork in the selection is a jewel by individuals I believe have something to say and whose voices only grow louder.

What artwork would you buy if money was no object?

‘I never Asked to Fall in Love - You made me Feel like This, 2020’ by Tracey Emin. This piece was in Emin’s exhibition ‘The Loneliness of the Soul’ alongside Edvard Munch at the Royal Academy. Not only was the exhibition a beautiful collaboration of great creators throughout art history, but the painting itself completely stopped me in my tracks. Emin’s exhibition is one of the first where I wasn’t afraid to cry.

Looking ahead to 2024, what are some of the projects or exhibitions you’re particularly looking forward to?

Upcoming at GJG, I am so excited to be presenting a roster of extraordinary female artists through the ages. In November & December, we have Eleanor Johnson, an extraordinary abstract-figurative painter. In January 2024, the African-American Abstract-Expressionist artist, Milan Young, who paints from the heart will display a series of paintings that evoke ‘emotions in colour’. And for International Women’s month, we will be highlighting Berenice Sydney, an artist working in the late 20th Century who pioneered so much of what we know of Abstract Art today. Sydney is in some incredible institutional collections world-wide, yet she has lacked exposure due to the historical under-exhibition of female artists in both the private and public industry; since we took on her estate, GJG has been working towards championing Sydney’s work in both the academic and commercial realm.

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