Shelley Adler

SHelley Shelley Adler <!  Biography  >


Canada, b.1961
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.


1987     Master of Fine Arts, Boston University
1983     Bachelor of Fine Arts, York University, Toronto
1982     Edinburgh College of Art, Scotland



Studies, Madison Gallery, La Jolla, California


The Nude Polaroids, Two Person Show with Brent McIntosh, Galerie St-Larent Hill, Ottawa, Canada


Body Language, Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto, Solo Show


Four Portrayls, J. Cacciola Gallery, New York, Group show
Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto, Solo Show


Eat Drink Man Woman, Art Gallery of Mississauga, Group Show
Pulp Friction, Toronto, Solo Show


Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto, Solo Show


2008 Blanche Volume 2: Painting, MOCCA, Toronto, Group Show
2008 The Figure, Sarah Myerscough Gallery, London England, Group Show
Andrea Meislin Gallery, New York, New York, Solo Show


Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto, Solo Show
Making Room, Harbourfront, Toronto
Dyan Marie Projects, Paint Jam, Group Show


Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto, Group show
Loop Gallery, Toronto, Two person show


Drabinsky Gallery, Toronto, Group show


State Gallery, Vancouver, Three person show
Loop Gallery, Toronto, Two person show


2002 State Gallery, Vancouver, Solo show
Loop Gallery,Toronto, Two person show


2001 Blackwood Gallery, University of Toronto in Mississauga, Group show


2000 Gallery 418, Montreal, Group show
Loop Gallery,Toronto, Two person show


Blackwood Gallery, University of Toronto in Mississauga, Group show
Meg Gallery, Toronto, Group show


1994 Samual J. Zacks Gallery, York University, Toronto, Solo show
Here and Now Gallery, Toronto, Solo show
Koffler Gallery, Toronto
Canadian Painters



Drawing Award, Blackwood Gallery


Nan Foundation Graduate Scholarship, Boston University