Shelley Adler


Untitled (Green Camisole), 2015
Oil on canvas
30 x 19 in.

The human face is the subject matter of Shelley Adler's paintings. In many of her paintings, a single figure is set against a blank background. By removing any sense of narrative, Adler provides only the mutual gaze between subject and viewer, effectively isolating the psychological component of this interaction. In paintings where the subject turns away from the viewer, an inward reality is still apparent. Adler uses a palette of pinks, blues, and oranges, creating a feeling that is subdued while at the same time unsettling. The process of painting is felt in the active brushwork and layered texture on the canvas.

Adler often focuses on gender identity through representation of young men and women. Adler emphasizes the "female-gaze," investigating the physical transformation from adolescence to adulthood as well as the psychological transition from childhood innocence to adolescent awareness.

Shelley Adler has exhibited throughout Canada and the United States. She has had solo shows at Madison Gallery, California (2015, 2016), Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto (2009, 2014), and has participated in group exhibitions in Vancouver, Toronto and New York , including J. Cacciola Gallery, New York (2014). 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. In the spring of 2012, The National Post published a feature article on her work, entitled Putting a Good Face on It.