Esther Erlich

Eye Can See Your Halo

4 – 28 May 2022

Opening | Saturday 7 May 3 – 5 pm

Gratitude to the aura of summer is what spurred Eye Can See Your Halo for Australia’s notable portrait painter, Esther Erlich. In May 2022 Fox Galleries presents Erlich’s gang of self-possessed gutsy provocations- female representations that use the gaze to challenge the status quo.

When Erlich said “I felt like we needed a gang”, I knew exactly what she meant, her large-scale painting ‘Cat and Mouse’ responds to the barrage of reality that is 2022. Erlich has spent the last few months, like most of us, stricken with a little nostalgia while appealing to the fleeting crown of light that the summer brings.

Prudent brush strokes, commanding poses and intense gaze give this series of portraits a feel of intimate conduct between the viewer and the image.

Esther’s vivid use of colour and pulled back palette provocate courage and a vexing strength. Her steadfast poses with the smattering of abstract marks and swift overlaid minimal lines suggest movement, alongside the use of the unequivocal stare, her portraits redirects assumptions from the historical passive gaze to a space of conscious presence that forecast dynamic emotions and sense of self.

Erlich paints with courage and zest. Contemporaneous painting techniques that inform the conversations occurring within her characters. Realism. Abstraction. Graffiti. Bright emerging faces and gestural hands energise her steady intent to get your attention. To take notice.

Esther Erlich as a female painter has developed over time as a campaigner for expressions of the feminine as progressive, playful and self aware. Her compelling portraits, move away from the traditional muse and her long stints in the studio produce a tender recognition of the power of paint.

While summer slips away from us, the mirage of rich red and yellows shine brightly through Erlich’s vivid imagination.


2000 People’s Choice Award, Archibald Prize, Art Gallery of New South Wales; George Adams Gallery, Melbourne and Regional galleries tour
1998 Winner, Doug Moran Portrait Prize, Moran Arts Foundation, Sydney


2018 Finalist, Portia Geach Memorial Award, S.H Ervin Gallery, Sydney, NSW
2018 Finalist, Percival Portrait Painting Prize, Townsville City, QLD
2017 Finalist, Portia Geach Award, National Trust S.H.Ervin Gallery, Sydney
2017 Semi Finalist, Doug Moran National Portrait Prize, Moran Arts Foundation, Sydney
2016 Finalist, Kilgour Prize, Newcastle Art Gallery, Newcastle, NSW
2016 Finalist, Paul Guest Drawing Prize, Bendigo Art Gallery, Bendigo VIC
2016 Finalist, Percival Portrait Painting Prize, Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, QLD


2019 Esther Erlich: AUDACIOUS, Fox Galleries, Melbourne
2018 Esther Erlich: The Female Gaze, Fox Galleries, Melbourne
2016 Esther Erlich: New Work, Frances Keevil Gallery, Sydney
2015 Frances Keevil Gallery, Sydney
2014 Invisible, Libby Edwards Galleries, Melbourne
2013 Perth Concert Hall in conjunction with Gadfly Gallery, Perth
2012 Rapscallions, Libby Edwards Galleries, Melbourne


2017 Pop Up Show, Libby Edwards Galleries, Melbourne
2016 Trailblazing Women, The Global Women’s Project, Neospace Gallery
2015 Pain/ting, Open Walls Gallery, Berlin
2014 Panter and Hall, London, UK
2014 Adelaide Perry Prize for Drawing, The Croydon Centre for Art, Design & Technology, Sydney

Full CV