by Jeffrey Carlson

By intently observing the contours and colors that compose her figures, Ann Gale creates paintings that meditate on the very act of looking. 

Figurative painter Ann Gale (b. 1966) is exhibiting a selection of artworks that manifests her powerful sense of vision and remarkable ability to manipulate paint.

Ann Gale | Self-portrait with Collar (2014) | Graphite, ink and watercolor on Mylar and paper | 14 x 11 inches

Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects in New York is currently hosting a solo show of 10 recent artworks by Gale, who is receiving her first exhibition at the gallery. Ann Gale: Paintings and Drawings features six paintings and four drawings, to be precise. The artworks on view are mostly of a modest scale, though the show does feature one larger piece, Peter with Striped Kimono. The exhibition opened in early January and is now entering its final weekend; it will close on February 15.

Ann Gale | Peter (2014) | Oil on masonite | 14 x 11 inches

Ann Gale | Portrait with Cap (2014) | Oil on linen-wrapped masonite | 14 x 11 inches

Gale's paintings are busy compilations of energetic and seemingly erratic paint markings. Upon studying her work, though, one clearly sees that the portraits and the marks that compose them are a response to an almost obsessively intense method of looking. Reading shadows and the fall of light with eccentricity and creativity, Gale presses her palette beyond the natural and arrives at a final product that teeters on the edge of realism and something else entirely. Still, in the sullen expressions of her figures and self-portraits, Gale taps into deeply human emotion and vulnerability that makes her artworks relatable as well as visually fascinating.

Ann Gale | Self-portrait with Collar (2014) | Oil on panel | 14 x 11 inches

Ann Gale | Peter with Striped Kimono (2014) | Oil on canvas | 50 x 44 inches

Born in Baltimore and raised in Rhode Island, Ann Gale earned a B.F.A. from Rhode Island College and an M.F.A. from Yale University School of Art. She has been honored with recent solo exhibitions at San Francisco's Dolby Chadwick Gallery (2012); the Falk Art Museum at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro (2009); and the Portland Art Museum in Portland, Oregon (2007). Since 1995 Gale has served on the faculty at the University of Washington, where she is professor of painting and drawing. She is the 2015 Master Class Guest of Honor at JSS in Civita, a summer art school and residency in Civita Castellana, Italy.

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