Erin Cone
  • Introduction

  • CV

  • Exhibitions

  • Publications

  • Links

Abstract figures in the paintings of Erin Cone

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.

Geraldine Blum

Born in Lubbock, Texas, USA
Bachelor of Fine Art in Painting, University of Texas, Austin, Texas
Lives and works in Santa Fe, USA

Collections (Selection)

Department of Cultural Affairs/New Mexico Arts Permanent Collection, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, Washington, D.C.
The Tullman Collection, Chicago, Illinois
Standard Chartered Bank, London, UK

Exhibits (Selection)

Single Exhibitions (Selection)

2013Desiderata, Nuart Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
2012Theory of Forms, Nuart Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Ingenue, Hespe Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
2011Denouement, Nüart Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
2010Passages, Hespe Gallery, San Francisco, California
2009Blessed Unrest, Nüart Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
2008Possible Outcomes, Hespe Gallery, San Francisco, California
Departure, Wally Workman Gallery, Austin, Texas
2007Synchronicity, Nüart Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
2006Secrets, Hespe Gallery, San Francisco, California
20053, Andreeva Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Erin Cone: 5th Annual Show, Wally Workman Gallery, Austin, Texas
2004Transformation, Seven-o-seven Contemporary, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Interval, Wally Workman Gallery, Austin, Texas
2003Configuration, Seven-o-seven Contemporary, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Group Exhibitions (Selection)
2011In Portrait, Blank Space Gallery, New York, New York
2010Gallery Artists, Rosenbaum Contemporary, Boca Raton, Florida
2009Artist’s Choice, Principle Gallery, Alexandria, Virginia
2008Inaugural Exhibit, MMFA, Palm Desert, California
20079th Annual Realism Invitational, Jenkins-Johnson Gallery, New York, New York
2006Small Works, Principle Gallery, Alexandria, Virginia
2005Self Portraits by Contemporary Masters, Andreeva Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Books/Catalogs (Selection)

2013Nova Magazine, May 2013
2012Architectural Digest Magazine, July 2012
Poets & Artists Magazine, June 2012
Professional Artist Magazine, May 2012
New American Paintings, October 2010

Poets & Artists Magazine, August 2010 (Cover Artist)
American Art Collector, June 2010
2008Southwest Art Magazine, September 2008 (Cover Artist)
Art Calendar Magazine, January 2008 (Cover Artist)
2006American Art Collector, October 2006 (Cover Artist)
2005Southwest Art Magazine. November 2005

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