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Portraits in Light

This exhibition will feature 20 portraits and a 150-page book of portraits by Petra Malá Miller. Originally from the Czech Republic and now based in Lethbridge, Malá Miller began her Portraits in Light series to become more acquainted with her new home in southeast Alberta. Her portraits represent the individuals she met throughout her community. They are portraits of friends, schoolmates, colleagues, students, and friends of friends.

The artist’s portrait sessions were an extension of the relationship between Malá Miller and her subjects. She explains, “My portraits grow from an exchange between my subjects and myself and are made in a classical portrait style using a soft light, while I emphasize my subject’s gaze in a three-quarter pose. My subjects are at once vulnerable and yielding. Each person’s appearance is clearly articulated, but his or her social status is cast in doubt, placed on the same symbolic level. Each person is depicted as if without clothing.” These works are quiet and powerful, and capture humanity’s vulnerability and strength. They express how we are simultaneously similar but unique.

Petra Malá Miller grew up in Blatnice, a village in southern Moravia. Her photographic work explores the poetics of childhood, innocence, aging, memory, and loss and raises questions surrounding representation, cultural identity, the individual, the family, and the community. Malá Miller earned her MFA from the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague (2008).

This exhibition is curated by Xanthe Isbister, Esplanade Arts and Heritage Centre