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Artist Statement

Portrait of Erin Fostel by Schaun Champion

My drawings invite viewers to consider connections to physical spaces they inhabit. Whether the urban landscape of a city or the private interior of a home, I choose not to draw the occupants, and with their absence I hope to encourage the viewer to not only imagine those not shown, but also to ruminate on correlations to their own personal environments. In my shadow drawings I draw particular attention to the malleability of our relationship to space, through even the continuously variable influence of light.

My practice previously focused entirely on narrative-based portraiture. The shift in attention from people to places stemmed from an experience of loss. Following the death of my father, an architect, I used representations of physical structures to create external vessels to hold my immense feelings of grief. Building space and form through the layering of charcoal marks, I created tonal landscapes, rendering both my external and internal worlds. As the work progressed, I developed an increased interest in the interplay of presence and absence,  tangible and intangible intertwined. Loss gave me a new awareness of the imperceptible space between these dualities, which I aim to make visible through drawing.


Erin Fostel (b.1981, Baltimore, MD) spent the first few years of life navigating the world with blurred vision. Since the moment she first wore glasses, seeing things in focus for the very first time, she has been consumed with the joy of observation and a love of drawing. In 2004, she received a BFA in Drawing from the Maryland Institute College of Art. Her work has been featured in group and solo exhibitions both in the Mid-Atlantic Region and nationally. She is a past winner of a Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award and a Municipal Art Society of Baltimore City Travel Prize. Her drawings have been included in local and international publications, as well as private and institutional collections. Her studio is based in Baltimore, MD.

Curriculum Vitae
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