"I emphasize visual impact over narrative context, focusing on the subtle orchestration of my subject within a framework of design.  I create a deliberate push-and-pull between near-photorealistic detail and my own vocabulary of visual glitches that challenge that very realism.  This duality is central to my work and allows the figures I paint to remain wholly representational while functioning abstractly — evoking emotion without defining it." — Erin Cone



Erin Cone's portraits are commanding, enigmatic mirrors of the human condition.  A fusion of traditional portraiture and magical realism, Cone's paintings evoke the perspective and emotional complexity of the sitter's interior world.  Detached, yet imbued with raw emotion, Cone places her subject in abstract settings devoid of reference to the material world.  Cone's bold, minimal compositions encapsulate potent moments and solidify them in an infinite manner. 

Exceptional and compelling, Cone has developed a powerfully idiosyncratic visual language containing strong directional lighting and reductive planes of subdued color.  The artist states “I explore the shifting interpretations possible when narrative is omitted and only emotion and ambiguity remain.”  Erin Cone's highly stylized portraits contain a modular perfection, revealing a synthesis of figural minimalism infused with essential truth.  In the artist's own words, “I want to show all of the emotion of the moment, but none of the context.  I seek to capture subtle, ambiguous feeling which each person can approach in his or her own way.” 

Born in Lubbock, Texas in 1976, Cone received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Texas in 1998.  Since her first show in 2001, Cone has had twenty-two solo shows and participated in more than a dozen group shows across the U.S. and in Europe, consistently enjoying critical and commercial success for her unconventional approach to figurative realism.  She has twice been recognized in the national art press as a top emerging artist, has been interviewed on PBS, and has been featured in numerous art magazines — appearing on the cover of American Art Collector Magazine and Southwest Art Magazine, among others.  Cone's work is in hundreds of private, public and corporate collections throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia.  She lives with her husband and daughter in Santa Fe, New Mexico.


Editorial - Q + A with Erin Cone