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IntroductionAbstract 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.
Born in Lubbock, Texas, USA
Bachelor of Fine Art in Painting, University of Texas, Austin, Texas
Lives and works in Santa Fe, USACollections
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, UKExhibitions
2020 Time & Tide, Nüart Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA 2018 Boundless, Nüart Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA 2017 Stages of Believing, Nüart Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA 2016 Wish Fulfillment, Nüart Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA 2015 Ineffable, Nüart Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA 2015 Emergence, Hespe Gallery, San Francisco, USA 2014 Modiste, Nüart Gallery, Santa Fe, USA 2013 Desiderata, Nüart Gallery, Santa Fe, USA 2012 Theory of Forms, Nüart Gallery, Santa Fe, USA 2012 Ingenue, Hespe Gallery, San Francisco USA 2011 Denouement, Nüart Gallery, Santa Fe, USA 2010 Passages, Hespe Gallery, San Francisco, USA 2009 Blessed Unrest, Nüart Gallery, Santa Fe, USA 2008 Possible Outcomes, Hespe Gallery, San Francisco,USA 2008 Departure, Wally Workman Gallery, Austin, USA 2007 Synchronicity, Nüart Gallery, Santa Fe, USA 2006 Secrets, Hespe Gallery, San Francisco, USA 2005 3, Andreeva Gallery, Santa Fe, USA 2005 Erin Cone: 5th Annual Show, Wally Workman Gallery, Austin, USA 2004 Transformation, Seven-o-seven Contemporary, Santa Fe, USA 2004 Interval, Wally Workman Gallery, Austin, USA 2003 Configuration, Seven-o-seven Contemporary, Santa Fe, USA
2021 Caesura, Nüart Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA 2019 Figurations 2019, Nüart Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexiko, USA 2018 New New Real II, Tinney Contemporary, Nashville, Tennessee, USA 2013 20th Anniversary Exhibition, Hespe Gallery, San Francisco, USA 2012 Distilled Memory, Decorazon Gallery, London, UK 2011 In Portrait, Blank Space Gallery, New York City, USA 2010 Gallery Artists, Rosenbaum Contemporary, Boca Raton, USA 2009 Artist’s Choice, Principle Gallery, Alexandria, USA 2008 Inaugural Exhibit, MMFA, Palm Desert, USA 2007 9th Annual Realism Invitational, Jenkins-Johnson Gallery, New York City, USA 2006 Small Works, Principle Gallery, Alexandria, USA 2005 Self Portraits by Contemporary Masters, Andreeva Gallery, Santa Fe, USA