Eleni Smolen: Girl by the Sea/Guardians

Filed in Exhibitions, Past Exhibitions, Solo Exhibitions by on December 1, 2019

March 7 – TBA, 2020


WAAM’s galleries are currently closed.

Please enjoy this virtual tour of our current Main Gallery Exhibition.


Eleni Smolen is deeply connected to and concerned about the natural world. She ascribes to Edward Wilson’s concept of “biophilia,” the word he coined to describe humankind’s deep affinity for nature. The artist believes nature is, as Wilson describes it, “the refuge of the spirit, remote, static, richer even than imagination.”

Smolen’s current work explores memory as well as the ambiguity of nostalgia. Girl by the Sea and Guardians Series are both inspired by the discovery of a photograph of the artist taken by her mother when the family was in Étretat, France in 1959. Girl by the Sea initially riffs on this one image in dozens of smaller sketches, later developed into “memory flags.” The larger Guardians Series eliminates the peripheral details of the memorialized Étretat photograph and brings the ever-changing girl holding the bird front and center. Working through the losses and grievances inherent in a personal history – especially the sudden loss of a mother – Smolen experiences a cathartic release in the creation of this new body of work.

2020 Solo Shows were selected by juror Kristen Dodge, owner and director of September Gallery in Hudson, NY


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