Gail Spaien is known for making paintings that depict an idealized view of the natural world and a denial of unpleasant things. Her current work examines the symbolism and contradiction embedded in the floral still-life tradition touching on themes of well-being and mortality, pleasure and loss. Spaien’s use of deliberately artificial imagery transforms extreme emotion to a restrained strength as a commentary on the complexities of our time and a continuation of her interest in sentimentality as it relates to the intersection of nature and culture.
Gail Spaien is an artist and educator. She has been granted numerous fellowships including the Djerassi Foundation Resident Artists Program in Woodside, CA, Millay Colony for the Arts in Austerlitz, NY and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. She has received grant funding from the Lillian Orlowsky and William Freed Foundation, the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation Artist Advancement Grant, and the Maine Arts Commission. Spaien’s group exhibitions include the Provincetown Art Association and Museum, MA, DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, in Lincoln, MA, Center for Maine Contemporary Art in Rockport, ME, San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, in California, Crocker Art Museum, in Sacramento,CA, the Portland Museum of Art, and the Institute of Contemporary Art at MECA in Portland, ME.
Her one and two person exhibitions include the Ogunquit Museum of American Art, Ogunquit, ME, Colby College Museum of Art in Waterville, ME, Vanier Gallery in Tuscon, AZ, William Scott Gallery, Provincetown, MA, Aucocisco Gallery in Portland, ME, George Marshall Store Gallery of the Old York Historical Society in York, ME, Maine Botanical Garden, Boothbay, ME and Ellen Miller Gallery in Boston, MA. Reviews and mentions in notable publications include New American Painting (1999,2015); Two Coats of Paint (2014), Art New England (2010, 2005), the Portland Press Herald, the Boston Globe, and Down East Magazine. Spaien’s work is in the collections of Fidelity Investments, University of New England, the University of Southern Maine, Intuit Corporation and Portland Museum of Art. She received an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and a BFA from the University of Southern Maine and is affiliated with the George Marshall Store Gallery in Maine. She resides with her husband and daughter in South Portland, Maine.