Lavely Miller (b. 1978, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina) is a contemporary realist painter who works in large scale. For the past three years her portraits and figures have focused primarily on the visual narration of the effects of trauma. They are windows into intimate, personal journeys and reflections of universal experience. Mark Jenkins, writing for the Washington Post, describes her work as containing depths that are “both metaphorical and literal. That the format evokes Renaissance art seems apt...her paintings have an eerie timelessness.” Miller draws reference from faces she observes around her, close members of her family and friends, found images in the media and film stills. She paints with her fingers, building layers and layers of acrylic and thick gel medium.
Miller’s work is held in various public collections such as the New Salem Museum in New Salem, Massachusetts, the University of Virginia, Maria McVarish’s Architectural Library in San Francisco, the National Center for Transgender Equality in Washington, D.C., the Delancey Street Museum in Philadelphia and the Twenty-First Century Fox and News Corporation building in New York City. Private collections include Jock Sturges (photographer), Kate Bernstein (writer and gender theorist), Lisa Decker (note contemporary art collector) and others internationally. Awards for Miller’s painting include a top prize at 2013’s Art Basel and fellowships at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and Dacia Gallery in New York City, where she studied under Iliya Mirochnick. In 2021 she was named a finalist for the Bennet Prize and in 2022 received a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant. Her work has been published in interviews, reviews and textbooks worldwide.
Miller graduated summa cum laude with a BFA in Studio Art from James Madison University. She holds both master’s and doctoral level degrees in Clinical Mental Health from the University of Virginia, completing her residency in the area of serious mental illness. She currently lives and works in Baltimore, Maryland. Her work is represented by Arcadia Contemporary (Los Angeles, CA) and Artist’s Proof (Washington D.C.). She also serves on the board of Foundry Gallery, Washington’s oldest member-run contemporary art space.