Gail Erwin

Mixed Media

Artist Statement

Gail Erwin explores nature, landscape and the built environment, looking at mystery and allure; patterns, rhythms and harmony. Energy and dissipation, growth and regeneration are the forces that shape our world, creating tension and duality. Man builds and nature overtakes mankind’s efforts and leaves us with ruins to contemplate. These artifacts brood in silence, softened by time. They are strange and beautiful in their decay. Erwin creates richly layered and tactile images.  Shadows add depth and mystery. Time, age and memory are reflected in image and process.

Erwin’s process combines twenty first century digital technology and 19th century photographic techniques, creating new, unpredictable images, and transforming the original digital photograph. Cyanotype and Van Dyke Brown are nineteenth century non-silver alternative photo process in which an emulsion is painted on a paper or fabric surface, exposed to light and then developed in water, turning blue or brown. Twenty first century digital photographs are made into contact printing negatives by inverting them on the computer and printing the result on transparency film.

Gail Erwin taught at Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston as well as the deCordova Museum School and other community arts centers. She continues to teach classes in her studio at ArtSpace Maynard, Maynard, MA. She received her B.F.A. from Massachusetts College of Art, a B.A. from William Smith College, M.S. in Education from State University of New York College at Oswego and a J.D. from Western New England School of Law.


Images on View

Niche

Niches. There is mystery in the empty niche, the partially opened door, the layered view.  Light plays over images in unexpected ways, it glows from beneath a closed door, or through a crack that lets in a sliver of light.

Vietnam – A land of contrasts

Ancient Culture; spiritual traditions. Twenty First Century commercialism.
Time is illusive in Vietnam. Goods are still delivered by boat to the market in Hue. The view from a modern hotel in Hanoi overlooks back porches with laundry on display. The temples are timeless. Traditional Buddha sculptures are fabricated at a neighborhood foundry in Hue. And most amazingly, the jumble of wires attached to utility poles somehow keeps the electricity flowing and the country connected.

Arcadian Concert

Printing photographs in an antique process, focuses attention on the sublime, resulting in subtle interpretations of idealized landscapes. The images of Arcadian, bucolic landscapes enfold and envelop the viewer. There is a sense of longing, a sense of being hidden amongst the trees. Of finding an aerie or sanctuary in the foliage. “My intension is not to depict nature but to create images that reflect what it leaves me with–the sensations and memories,” said Erwin.