South Portland

Gail Spaien

Based in Portland, Maine, Gail Spaien is inspired by the symbolism, contradiction, and pleasure embedded in the traditions of American folk art, Dutch floral painting of the 16th and 17th centuries, and the landscape paintings of the Hudson River School. Having received her M.F.A. from the San Francisco Art Institute, Spaien’s paintings depict an idealized view of nature and home. Through the careful construction of a desired view, she paints the world as she would like it to be. Rose-colored glasses are donned, outside disturbances are eliminated, and beautiful vistas imagined. Reframing reality, Spaien suggests her desire for and the impossibility of such conditions.

STATEMENT
Pondering the meaning and presence of utopia in the everyday, I curate an idealized and intentionally artificial situation, suspending pleasure indefinitely only to find that...

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Biography

Based in Portland, Maine, Gail Spaien is inspired by the symbolism, contradiction, and pleasure embedded in the traditions of American folk art, Dutch floral painting of the 16th and 17th centuries, and the landscape paintings of the Hudson River School. Having received her M.F.A. from the San Francisco Art Institute, Spaien’s paintings depict an idealized view of nature and home. Through the careful construction of a desired view, she paints the world as she would like it to be. Rose-colored glasses are donned, outside disturbances are eliminated, and beautiful vistas imagined. Reframing reality, Spaien suggests her desire for and the impossibility of such conditions.

STATEMENT
Pondering the meaning and presence of utopia in the everyday, I curate an idealized and intentionally artificial situation, suspending pleasure indefinitely only to find that even with rose-colored glasses on there is always a sliver of reality in the periphery beyond the edge of the glass.

Artworks

3

Cottage II, 2019

Related Categories

21st Century Art / Acrylic on Fabric / Acrylic on Linen / Acrylic Paint / Acrylic Painting / American Art / American Folk Art / Art of the 2010s / Bold Composition / Contemporary American Art / Daily Life Experience / Domestic Objects / Domestic Scenes / Dutch Floral Painting / Fabric / Floral Painting / Flowers/Plants/Trees / Inspired by Art History / Inspired by Dutch Floral Painting / Interior Spaces / Landscape Painting / Linen / Lyrical Expression / Maine / Nature / Restrained Brushstrokes / Smooth and Flat Surface / South Portland / United States

Curriculum Vitae

Education

  • M.F.A., San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA

  • B.F.A., University of Southern Maine, Portland, ME

Solo Exhibitions

  • 2019

    Upcoming: Open Windows, Mirages, Islands, AD Gallery, University of North Carolina, Pembroke, NC

  • Renegade Mirage, Carol Calo Gallery, Stonehill College, Easton, MA

  • 2017

    Serenade, Ogunquit Museum of American Art, Ogunquit, ME

Group Exhibitions

  • 2019

    Flowering: Inside/Outside, Nancy Margolis Gallery, New York, NY  

  • Perfection, Able Baker Contemporary, Portland, ME (Curator: Hilary Irons)

  • 2017

    American Genre: Contemporary Painting, Institute of Contemporary Art, ME

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Curriculum Vitae

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Education

  • M.F.A., San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA

  • B.F.A., University of Southern Maine, Portland, ME

Solo Exhibitions

  • 2019

    Upcoming: Open Windows, Mirages, Islands, AD Gallery, University of North Carolina, Pembroke, NC

  • Renegade Mirage, Carol Calo Gallery, Stonehill College, Easton, MA

  • 2017

    Serenade, Ogunquit Museum of American Art, Ogunquit, ME

  • 2016

    Still-Lifes and Botanicals, Coastal Maine Botanical Garden, Boothbay, ME

  • 2014

    Dozier Bell and Gail Spaien, Aucocisco Galleries, Portland, ME

  • 2013

    New Paintings, Ellen Miller Gallery, Boston, MA

  • 2012

    The World Over, Institute of Contemporary Art, Portland, Maine, (Curator: Daniel Fuller, catalog)

  • 2010

    Between: Gail Spaien and Ahmed Alsoudani, Aucocisco Galleries, Portland, ME

  • In Winter, Garden, Archive Project 6, Miller Block, Boston, MA

  • 2008

    Garden Archive, Project 4, Museums of Old York, George Marshall Store Gallery, York, ME

  • Garden Archive, Project 5, William Scott Gallery, Provincetown, MA

  • 2006

    New Work, Miller Block Gallery, Boston, MA

  • 2004

    Damon Lehrer and Gail Spaien, William Scott Gallery, Boston MA

  • 2003

    Charm, Museums of Old York, George Marshall Store, York, ME

  • Samplers and Mourning Paintings, Aucocisco Galleries, Portland, ME

  • 2001

    Domestic Time, Vanier Gallery, Tucson, AZ

  • 2000

    Counting, Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, ME

  • Art Houston: Introductions, Jack Meier Gallery, Houston, TX

Group Exhibitions

  • 2019

    Flowering: Inside/Outside, Nancy Margolis Gallery, New York, NY  

  • Perfection, Able Baker Contemporary, Portland, ME (Curator: Hilary Irons)

  • 2017

    American Genre: Contemporary Painting, Institute of Contemporary Art, ME

  • The 2016 Grant Recipients, Provincetown Art Assoc. and Museum, Provincetown, MA

  • Impact, Art Museum, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH

  • Take Flight, Museums of Old York, George Marshall Store Gallery, York, ME

  • 2016

    Bounty, Institute of Contemporary Art, Portland, ME (Curator: Sage Lewis)

  • 2015

    20 Year Anniversary Show, Museums of Old York, George Marshall Store Gallery, York, ME

  • 2014

    New Acquisitions, University of New England, Portland, ME

  • 2011

    Momentum, Museums of Old York, George Marshall Store Gallery, York, ME

  • 2010

    Collected Nature, Miller Block, Boston, MA

  • 2009

    Economies of Scale, Miller Block, Boston, MA

  • Winter Salon, Denise Bibro Fine Art, New York, NY

  • 2008

    Out There: Mediated Landscape, Institute of Contemporary Art, Portland, ME  

  • New Natural History, Portland Museum of Art, Portland, ME

  • 2007

    Biennial, Portland Museum of Art, Portland, ME

  • Nature/Nurture, Miller Block, Boston, MA

  • 2006

    Peaceable Kingdom, Museums of Old York, George Marshall Store Gallery , York, ME

  • 2005

    Inside/Outside, Miller Block Gallery, Boston, MA

  • Pretty Sweet: The Sentimental Image in Contemporary Art, DeCordova Museum, Lincoln, MA  

  • Transcribing Time: Grace DeGennaro, Gail Spaien, Alice Spencer, Maine Center for Contemporary Art , Rockport, ME

  • Momentum: PCF Advancement Grant Finalists, George Marshall Store Gallery, York, ME

  • Gallery Artists, William Scott Gallery, Provincetown, MA

  • 2002

    Elements Gallery, Rockland, ME

  • York Public Library, York, ME

  • 2001

    Domestic Culture, Institute of Contemporary Art, Portland, ME (Curator: Mark Bessire, catalog)

  • Elements Gallery, Rockland, ME

  • John Beuche Gallery, Northeast Harbor, ME

  • Abstraction: 22 Visions, Maine Art Gallery, Wiscasset

Grants/Awards

  • 2016

    Lillian Orlowsky and William Freed Foundation, Grant Award

  • Maine Arts Commission, Project Grant Award

  • 2010

    New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, Artist Advancement Grant

  • Maine Arts Commission, Visibility Grant Award

  • 2006

    Maine Arts Commission, GIG Grant Award

  • 2004

    Maine Arts Commission, GIG Grant Award

Achievement

  • 2019

    University of North Carolina, Art Department, Visiting Artist, Pembroke, NC

  • Stonehill College, Art Department, Visiting Artist, Easton, MA

  • 2018

    Maharishi School of Management, Art Department, Visiting Artist, Fairfield. IA

  • 2017

    On Genre: A Painting Symposium, Coordinator, in conjunction with the exhibition, American Genre: Contemporary Painting, Portland, ME

  • 2016

    Maine Botanical Garden, Lecture, The Flower in Art, Meaning and Metaphor, Boothbay, ME

  • Oberlin College Art Department, Visiting Artist, Oberlin, OH

  • 2010

    A Garden Grows in the Museum, public project for the Objects of Wonder Exhibition, Portland Museum, ME

  • Nomination: New England Art Award, New England Journal of Aesthetic Research, Boston, MA

  • Nomination: Spotlight Award, Portsmouth, New Hampshire

  • Kittery Maine School District, Committee member, Secondary Education Review Committee (2009-2010)

  • 2006

    Maine Masters Series, Panel discussant w/ Carl Little, Portland Museum of Art

  • 2002

    Maine Women in the Arts, Museum talk, Colby College Museum, Waterville, ME

  • 2001

    Teaching and Art Making, Panel discussant, First Thursdays, Portland, ME

  • Maine Women in the Visual Arts, panel discussant, Sources of Inspiration, Colby College, Waterville, ME

  • 2000

    Drawing on Ritual, Panel discussant, Institute of Contemporary Art, Portland

Collections

  • Fidelity Investments, MA

  • Portland Museum of Art, ME

  • University of New England, ME

  • Intuit Corporation, CA

  • University of Southern Maine, ME

Publications

  • American Genre: Contemporary Painting, catalog for the exhibition, curated by Michelle Grabner, ICA, Portland, ME 2018

  • Maine Arts Journal: The UMVA Quarterly, The Wave of Creativity, Dietlind Vander Schaaf, Features and Essays, Summer 2018, online

  • MaineToday.com, With Two Weeks Until it Closes, American Genre Beckons Fans of Contemporary Painting, Bob Keyes, August 28, 2017

  • Portland Press Herald, At the Institute of Contemporary Art, and exploration of   ‘Bounty’ in all its forms, Dan Kany, September 18, 2016

  • New American Painting, Northeast issue 116, Juror, Michelle Grabner

  • Two Coats of Paint, Snap: A Visit to Maine College of Art, November 2014

  • Maine Home and Design Magazine, Annual Art Issue, 2014

  • Boston Globe, March 20, 2013, Gail Spaien, New Paintings, Cate McQuaid

  • Boston Globe, March 13, 2013, Critics Pick

  • Portland Phoenix, Serious Thoughts in a Frivolous Season, Nicholas Schroeder, November 7, 2012

Teaching

  • 2019

    Maine College of Art, Professor Painting, Core Faculty, MFA Program, Portland, ME (2016-2019)

  • 2016

    Maine College of Art, Professor Painting, Chair, MFA Program, Portland, ME (2012-2016)

  • 2012

    Maine College of Art, Curriculum Coordinator (2011-2012)

  • Maine College of Art, Chair, Painting Program (2009-2012)

  • 2000

    Colby College, Visiting Assistant Professor, Art Dept., Waterville, ME (1997-2000)

  • MFA Visual Art, Vermont College, Artist-Teacher (1995-2000)