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“Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not the sitter.” – Oscar Wilde, author and playwright

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a picture of a person is like a thorough introduction. A detailed description by definition, a portrait conveys a lot about its sitter: their character, stature, pursuits and emotions. Through a representation, we come to know the featured face intimately. Similarly, a portrait says something of its maker, showing the perspectives and insights of the artist who captures the subject’s likeness or interprets their character.

Considering each portrait to be, in a way, a portrait of the artist, each functioned at some point as a mirror—a looking glass in which the artist reflects him or herself. The Looking Glass as an exhibition explores these multifaceted reflections of artists and sitters in states of stature, vulnerability, activity and honesty. Featuring paintings, photographs and sculpture by artists since the 19thcentury such as Walker Evans, Joe Fafard, Kathe Kollwitz, Diego Rivera and Andy Warhol, some of the works record, commemorate or memorialize; each hints at artist and subject idiosyncrasies, while pronouncing shared elements of our human condition.

Laura Ritchie
Head, Exhibitions and Collections Management

Laura Ritchie holds a BA in Art History from Mount Allison University and an MA in the same from Western University. She has worked in collections and exhibitions management and visual arts administration for and with such Canadian art organizations as the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, the New Brunswick Crafts Council, the New Brunswick Arts Board, Museum London, the Tom Thomson Memorial Art Gallery and the Commonwealth Association of Museums. Laura is currently the Head of Exhibitions and Collections Management at the Art Gallery of Alberta.