An image from the exhibition, “Constance in Contemplation” (2014-2016)
An image from the exhibition, “Constance in Contemplation” (2014-2016)

Through Aug. 13, the Hite Art Institute is presenting the work of renowned Louisville artist Gaela Erwin at the Cressman Center for Visual Arts.

The exhibition, “Gaela Erwin: Mother,” chronicles the last days of Erwin’s mother in pastel and photography. The show serves as both a memorial and a study in art, care and grief. 

The exhibition was conceived in collaboration with the Speed Art Museum’s show “Gaela Erwin: Reframing the Past” running July 30-Oct. 30. “Mother” serves an entry to “Reframing the Past” featuring Erwin’s earlier work, along with photographic studies and documentation of her artistic practice.

Erwin, who has a studio in Louisville and earned a master of arts from the University of Louisville, has exhibited prominently throughout the Southeast and Midwest and received numerous awards, fellowships and artist residencies nationally and internationally. Her subject matter is self-portraiture in oils or pastels and most recently her paintings examine self-portraiture through the guise and lore of saints. 

 “‘Mother’ marks a transformation in Erwin’s practice from self-analysis into explorations of grief, caretaking and family dynamics,” said Chris Reitz, gallery director of the Hite Art Institute. “These very personal images, often composed in the style or format of neoclassical portraiture or saintly icons, fold the life of the artist into the history of art. In doing so, they transform the deeply personal and specific into the timeless and universal.”

Niki King
Niki King Jones is positive she has the best job at the University of Louisville, serving the communication needs of the departments of fine arts and theatre, the School of Music, University Libraries and Alumni – all the fun, creative stuff. Before coming to UofL in 2015, Niki held communication positions in both private and nonprofit sectors in Louisville, Ky., including at Heaven Hill Distilleries and the Jewish Community of Louisville. For 10 years prior, she was a reporter at various newspapers across the country, most recently The Courier-Journal. Niki graduated from the University of Memphis with a BA in journalism and has a masters degree in community and leadership development from the University of Kentucky.