Abigail Drapkin is a painter from Midcoast Maine. She received her MFA in Painting + Drawing from the University of Washington in 2019 and her BA in Studio Art and French from Brandeis University in 2012. She lives in Seattle where she teaches art to grades 6-8 at Billings Middle School. Abigail exhibited her MFA thesis work including large monochromatic paintings and a series of prints at the Henry Art Gallery in 2019. Recent exhibitions include Plein Air Views of WA at Magnuson Park Gallery and group shows at Studio Gallery, Avenue 12 Gallery, and SMASH Gallery in San Francisco. In 2018, Abigail was awarded a residency through LaSalle College of the Arts in Singapore, where she created a series of etchings exhibited at the Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore.
Abigail's upcoming solo exhibition, "The Window" will be on view at Magnuson Park Gallery in Seattle in January 2023.
I began working on “The Table” in the months before the Covid-19 pandemic. As life drew inward, the objects on the table evolved into staples we had left in our cupboards: onion, garlic, rice. The daily newspaper and the window were sources of information and connection.
In the months that followed, my work centered on still life and self-portraiture, often combining the two rather awkwardly in oil paintings large and small. The color palettes somber, the objects strewn about, the window cast a cool light on my subjects in contrast to the warm glow inside. The window also became a compositional tool, framing and flattening the landscapes beyond, and a place for experimentation. How could I combine the inside and outside in one painting? I drew ideas from Pierre Bonnard and Edvard Munch, both painters of solitary figures, but flipped the male gaze. I focused on the female subject from a female perspective, lending importance to her quiet moments and inward landscapes.
As family and friends came back into my life, they came back into my paintings too. I painted my sister, my mother, and my close friends with gratitude. My patient brush captured flyaway hairs and the landscapes out the window, just beyond their steady gaze.
When Roe vs. Wade was overturned in the summer of 2022, I began painting the more intimate objects of my life in a small gesture of defiance. Each entitled “Aid and Abet”, the unconventional still lifes brought together pieces from my studio lunches with birth control pills, Plan B, abortion pills, and election ballots. I painted the haphazard still lifes fiercely with bright colors while again listening to the news and gazing out the window.