Gail Spaien's paintings tell a story of place and season. As an observer of her surroundings, she selectively catalogs — a red chair from the Hadden house on Cliff island, the ferry motoring across Casco Bay, the lighthouse that marks the turn in the channel towards the Portland waterfront. She unifies the subject of her work around the cycles of nature, daily activity, and routine. Evoking a feeling of suspended time and space, her use of scale, proportion, pattern, and subtly shifting color are visual elements that translate sensations of buoyancy and depth. The horizon line is an groundless edge that anchors.
As objects of contemplation the paintings ask the viewer to sit and gaze out — an action that counterbalances the noise that so often renders the invisible substance of daily life unobservable.
Gail Spaien is an artist and educator. She has been granted numerous fellowships, including the Varda Artist Residency in Sausalito, CA; 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, 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; Portland Museum of Art; and the Institute of Contemporary Art at MECA&D 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; Nancy Margolis Gallery, NY; 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 in South Portland, Maine.