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Lavely Miller draws from her background in clinical mental health to paint vivid and unsettling large-scale portraits exploring the effects of trauma and suffering. The gaze of Miller’s subjects in works such as Flowers on Her Shoulder (2020) or September (2019) is direct and confrontational, but also vulnerable, suggestive of great internal grief and self-reflection.
In lieu of live models, Miller paints from a library of reference images, sometimes creating composite images from multiple sources and portraying faces which are utterly unique but who represent a shared universal experience.
Working directly with her fingers instead of a brush, Miller paints on paper-covered canvas, applying layer after layer of acrylic paint and transparent glaze; this process imbues her images with textural depth and an aged quality reminiscent of Renaissance portraiture.