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Gaela Erwin

Artist Statement

"Inspired by centuries old traditional portraiture, I infuse my paintings with a sense of intimacy, rawness, and vulnerability that transcends mimetic specificity. The spiritual dimension and psychic nuances of the sitter are as important for me as the architecture of the head and facial features."


Gaela Erwin was born in a Franklin, Indiana. She received her B.F.A. from the Columbus College of Art and Design in Ohio and an M.A. in Expressive Therapy from the University of Louisville, in KY. Erwin received a grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women to attend a summer program in Samos, Greece headed by faculty from the New York Student’s Art League. She has been a recipient of numerous other grants and residencies, including Yaddo, Mac Dowell, Oberfalzer Kunstler, Germany, Tyronne Guthrie Center, Ireland, the Camargo Foundation Fellowship, in France, among many others. Awards, to name a few, include the Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptor’s grant, Outwin Boochever National Portrait Competition from the National Portrait Gallery with a commendation award, and BP NPG 18 National Portrait Gallery in London’s National Portrait Gallery that resulted in second place People’s Choice Award. Erwin has also exhibited nationally and internationally with two solo exhibitions at the Speed Art Museum, a solo at the Huntsville Museum of Art, the Ogunquit Museum of Art, and commercial galleries in Chicago, Tennessee, and Berlin, Germany.