Toronto based artist, Shelley Adler’s paintings are commanding in their painterly exuberance and stunning range of color. Using fragments of contemporary life, Adler’s psychological portraits explore gender and identity, creating a balance between interior and exterior worlds. From early cave painting to the Mona Lisa and Andy Warhol portraiture is a formidable artistic tradition. Shelley Adler’s paintings of people’s faces are not portraits in the strict sense of the word in that portraits are formulated primarily as likenesses of the sitter. In Adler’s painting, the face is a springboard to a luminous and freeform tableau. They are less about the sitter than the internal processes of the artist and her intense curiosity about people, about the ways of looking, and about the act of painting. These considerations are delicately balanced to reflect a deep humanism. With generous brushstrokes and vibrant planes of light, Adler forms the face into an elemental and iconic essence. Each painting is endowed with a particular, individual energy through color and composition. Color and its link to emotion is a primary concern and although Adler employs eccentric, non-naturalistic color, the faces have a very real quality. Like David Hockney, Adler often paints people she knows. For Hockney, capturing a subject’s likeness, and especially his or her personality, can only be properly done with the human touch, or as he says, “it has to be directed through my heart to my eye to my hand.”
Shelley Adler has exhibited throughout Canada. She has had solo shows at Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto (2006, 2009), Andrea Meislin (2008) and has participated in group exhibitions in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, including Sarah Myerscough Fine Art, London (2008). Adler received her MFA from Boston University in 1987. She graduated from York University in Toronto in 1983 and attended Edinburgh College of Art in Scotland in 1982.
(Source: Madison Gallery)
Born in Edmonton, Alberta
1987 Master of Fine Arts, Boston University
1983 Bachelor of Fine Arts, York University, Toronto
1982 Edinburgh College of Art, Scotland
2019 Black, Herringer Kiss Gallery, Calgary, AB,
2018 About Time, Galerie Jochen Hempel, Berlin
2017 5 Women, Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto,
2016 Solo Show Studies, Madison Gallery, La Jolla, California
2015 Perspectives, Madison Gallery, La Jolla, California
The Nude Polaroids, Glenhyrst Art Gallery of Brant, Brantford
Women Painting Women, J. Cacciola Gallery, New York
2014 Body Language, Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto, Solo Show
2013 Chroma, Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto
Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto, Solo Show
60 Painters, Humber Arts and Media Studio, Etobicoke, Group show
2012 'Recent Work', Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto
Eat Drink Man Woman, Art Gallery of Mississauga, Group Show
2011 Pulp Friction, Toronto, Solo Show
2009 Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto, Solo Show
2008 Andrea Meislin Gallery, New York, New York, Solo Show
Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto, Solo Show
Making Room, Harbourfront, Toronto
2006 Dyan Marie Projects, Paint Jam, Group Show
Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto, Group show
2005 Loop Gallery, Toronto, Two person show
2004 Drabinsky Gallery, Toronto, Group show
State Gallery, Vancouver, Three person show
2003 Loop Gallery, Toronto, Two person show
State Gallery, Vancouver, Solo show
2002 Loop Gallery, Toronto, Two person show
2001 Blackwood Gallery, University of Toronto in Mississauga, Group show
Gallery 418, Montreal, Group show
2000 Loop Gallery, Toronto, Two person show
Blackwood Gallery, University of Toronto in Mississauga, Group show
1997 Meg Gallery, Toronto, Group show
Samuel J. Zacks Gallery, York University, Toronto, Solo show
Here and Now Gallery, Toronto, Solo show
1994 Koffler Gallery, Toronto
1984 Canadian Painters
2017 Sandals, Leah. The Miami Connection, Canadian Art, December 6
Whyte, Murray. In the Galleries: Stanzie Tooth, Shelley Adler and Geoffrey James, Toronto Star, March 9
2014 Shypula,Brian. Glenhyrst Bares It In New Exhibition, Brant News Sept. 5
2012 Sandals, Leah. Putting a Good Face On It, National Post, Feb. 16
2011 Whyte, Murray. Painting is Alive and Well, Toronto Star, May 24
Balzer, David. Eye Weekly, March 18
Butler, Shelley. Shelley Adler's Romantic Loneliness in Toronto, Two Coats of Paint, March 18
2009 Milroy, Sarah. “Curatorial celebrations? Try inventory stockpiles” Globe and Mail, Nov. 22
2008 MacKay, Gillian. “Character Study: Shelley Adler’s empathetic portraits in paint” Canadian Art, Fall 2007.
2007 Dault, Gary Michael. “Exhibit A, Full Frontal” The Globe and Mail Sept. 22.
2006 Dault, Gary Michael. “The bliss of the big faces” The Globe and Mail Mar. 25.
Goddard, Peter. “The blank faces of a quiet revolution” The Toronto Star Mar. 31.
2005 Goddard, Peter. “Meeting the Stars on the Rise” The Toronto Star. Jul. 31.
2004 Osbourne, Catherine. “The Big Picture” The National Post. Jul. 24.
Parry, Malcolm. The Vancouver Sun. p.B3. Oct. 22.
Bennett, Diana. “Reading between the Sheets” Westender, Vancouver. Oct. 24.
Dault, Gary Michael, “Moira Clark & Shelly Adler at Loop”, Globe and Mail. Feb 16.
2002 Dault, Gary Michael, “Mapping the Landscape or the Face”, Globe and Mail. May 26.
2001 Millar, Sandy. “Artist Never Forgets a Face”. The Mississauga News. May 9.
2000 Paiement, Genevieve. “Meat is Material” Mirror, Montreal. Oct .12.
1999 MacKay, Gillian. “The Way of All Flesh”. The Globe and Mail. Nov. 6.
1998 Hume, Christopher. “Young Artists Learn to Exhibit Themselves” The Toronto Star. Oct. 18.
MacKay, Gillian. “Canadian, Eh!”. The Globe and Mail. Oct. 17.
MacKay, Gillian. “Capturing Ecstacy”. The Globe and Mail. May. 16.C, Catalog essay by Catherine Osbourne pp. 6-7. May.
1997 Sandiford, Judith. Artworld pp. 24-26. Spring issue.
SELECTED AWARDS AND DISTINCTIONS
1997 Drawing Award, Blackwood Gallery
1986 Nan Foundation Graduate Scholarship, Boston University
Bank of Montreal
Borden Ladner Gervais LLP
Davis Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP
The Donovan Art Collection, St. Michael's College
Scotiabank Fine Art Collection
Senvest Collection of New Canadian Art