Known for her bold visionary take on figurative realism, Erin Cone is recognized in the national art press as one of the top young emerging artists in the country. After graduating with a B.F.A. in Painting from the University of Texas Austin in 1998, and working briefly in the design industry, Erin had her first gallery solo show at the age of 24 and has been painting full-time ever since. From the beginning, Erin’s paintings have captured a fusion of aesthetics all her own - combining the compositional strength of abstraction with the emotive power of magical realism to create something completely new.
“I emphasize visual impact over narrative context, focusing on the subtle orchestration of my subject within a framework of design. I create a deliberate push-and-pull between near-photorealistic detail and my own vocabulary of visual glitches that challenge that very realism. This duality is central to my work and allows the figures I paint to remain wholly representational while functioning abstractly - evoking emotion without defining it.”
Art critic, Geraldine Blum writes: Graceful female figures displayed from the side, back, and front. Sometimes a woman’s tilted head is truncated; sometimes a shoulder disappears from the frame. The rich colors of the figures are muted by a drop of subdued background. Details are painstakingly added and yet have an abstract effect when seen as a whole.
Since her first solo exhibition in a gallery in 2003, the painter Erin Cone from Texas (b. 1976) has been a best kept secret among striving young artists. She has celebrated her success in many solo and group exhibitions in the USA and her work can be found in multiple collections around the world. Critics are fascinated by her unique new interpretations of traditional, figurative painting, and her subtle play with forms of realism. She experiments with dark-light contrasts, limited ranges of color, and the contradictions of true to life representation and graphic stylization.
The methods Erin Cone use to achieve this result are very complex. In seeking her motif, she makes sketches of poses, gestures, and details. These then become the basis for photographs (generally of herself, but sometimes of models as well). The final search for composition occurs intuitively. Through experimentation, Erin Cone finds the right combination of individual elements. “It’s more about the visual effect than the story content, that’s why I concentrate on the subtle placement of the subjects within the frame,” said Erin Cone, describing her experiences. “I intentionally create a tension between near photographic detail and my own vocabulary of visual disturbance, subverting realism. This duality is central to my work and allows the figures I paint to be both concrete and abstract – calling forth emotion without pinning the emotion down.”
Once the composition has been determined, Cone otherwise continues very traditionally: sketches on the canvas, filled with layers of color, in some cases allowing for changes during the painting process. The result is such impressive pictures as Allure, the abstract-realist portrait/non-portrait of a young woman in a red dress: a formally elegant equilibrium of rigidity and tense movement; a successful mélange of abstract minimalism and figurative realism.
Erin Cone (b. USA)
Education 1998 BFA, University of Texas, Austin, TX
Solo Exhibitions 2013 “Desiderata,” Nüart Gallery, Santa Fe, NM 2012 “Theory of Forms,” Nüart Gallery, Santa Fe, NM 2012 “Ingénue,” Hespe Gallery, San Francisco, CA 2011 “Denouement,” Nüart Gallery, Santa Fe, NM 2010 “Passages,” Hespe Gallery, San Francisco, CA 2009 “Blessed Unrest,” Nüart Gallery, Santa Fe, NM 2008 “Possible Outcomes,” Hespe Gallery, San Francisco, CA 2008 “Erin Cone: New Paintings,” Wally Workman Gallery, Austin, TX 2007 “Synchronicity,” Nüart Gallery, Santa Fe, NM 2006 “Secrets,” Hespe Gallery, San Francisco, CA 2005 “3,” Andreeva Gallery, Santa Fe, NM 2005 “5th Annual Solo Show,” Wally Workman Gallery, Austin, TX 2004 “Transformation,” Seven- o-seven Contemporary, Santa Fe, NM 2004 “Erin Cone: New Paintings,” Wally Workman Gallery, Austin, TX 2003 “Configuration,” Seven-o-seven Contemporary, Santa Fe, NM 2003/02/01 “Erin Cone: New Paintings,” Wally Workman Gallery, Austin, TX
Selected Group Exhibitions 2011 “In Portrait,” Blank Space Gallery, New York, NY 2010 Rosenbaum Contemporary, Boca Raton, FL 2009 Principle Gallery, Alexandria, VA 2008 MMFA, Palm Desert, CA
2007 “Representation” –9th Annual Realism Invitational, Jenkins-Johnson Gallery, New York, NY 2006 Principle Gallery, Alexandria, VA 2005 “Self-portraits by Contemporary Masters,” Andreeva Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
Selected Publications Nova Magazine, May 2013 American Art Collector, October 2013 The Artist's Magazine, October 2013 Architectural Digest Magazine, July 2012 Poets & Artists Magazine, June 2012 New American Paintings, October 2010 Poets & Artists Magazine, August 2010 (Cover Artist) American Art Collector, June 2010 Southwest Art Magazine, September 2008 (Cover Artist) Art Calendar Magazine, January 2008 (Cover Artist) Marin Magazine, October 2006 American Art Collector, October 2006 (Cover Artist) Southwest Art Magazine. November 2005 Santa Fean Magazine, June 2005 Art & Antiques Magazine, April 2005 Southwest Art Magazine, September 2003
Book Publications Painting “Charade” cover image for “El Cielo Ha Vuelto”, by Clara Sánchez, Summer 2014 Painting “Composure” cover image for the new German release of “South of the Border, West of the Sun”, by Haruki Murakami, Spring 2013
Selected Collections Department of Cultural Affairs/New Mexico Arts Permanent Collection, Santa Fe, NM Seven Bridges Foundation, Greenwich, CT Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, Washington, D.C. The Howard Tullman Collection, Chicago, IL Standard Chartered Bank, London, UK