Gayleen Aiken

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Gayleen Aiken
Born (1934-03-25)March 25, 1934
Barre, Vermont, U.S.
Died March 29, 2005(2005-03-29) (aged 71)
Barre, Vermont, U.S.
Nationality American
Known for painting, drawing
Movement Outsider art, Visionary art

Gayleen Aiken (March 25, 1934 – 2005) was a self-taught American artist[1] who lived her life in Barre, Vermont. Gayleen Aiken achieved critical acclaim during her lifetime for her naive paintings. Her work has been included in many exhibitions of visionary and folk art from the 1980s onwards. She is considered an Outsider artist.


Aiken was born in Barre, Vermont, on March 25, 1934.[2]

In the early 80s Gayleen Aiken was discovered by Grass Roots Art & Community Effort (GRACE), a Vermont grass-roots arts organization.[3] The "Grass Roots Art and Community Effort's" exhibition program exhibited her work for the first time in.... GRACE a not-for-profit organization founded by artist Don Sunseri in 1975, works to discover, develop and promote the population of elders and other special constituencies in rural Vermont.[4]


Gayleen Aiken produced paintings and drawings, that often combined narrative text and image, cardboard cut-outs, and book works;[5] her themes include music and musical instruments, the large old farmhouse where she grew up, the lyricism of Vermont’s seasons, the granite industry, and the pleasures and ordeals of rural life. These themes are threaded together by a cast of characters, members of an imaginary extended family, which she called The Raimbilli Cousins.

In popular culture

Jay Craven's 1985 documentary Gayleen details Gayleen's life and artworks.[6]


and was a recipient of a Vermont Council on the Arts fellowship. In 1997, Harry B. Abrams, Inc. released Moonlight and Music: The Enchanted World of Gayleen Aiken, produced with the novelist, Rachel Klein. Her artwork has been featured in The New York Times, Raw Vision, The Boston Globe, Smithsonian, and Folk Art Magazine.

Collections and exhibits

Gayleen Aikens's works are included in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.,[7] Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, Williamsburg, VA,[8] Museum of American Folk Art, New York, NY and Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Museum, Philadelphia, PA.[9]

Aikens's art has also been featured in many exhibitions, including at Lincoln Center Gallery, the American Visionary Art Museum, Works by Gayleen Aiken(2002) at the Vermont Granite Museum.[10]

Posthumous solo exhibits of her work include Our Yard in the Future: The Art of Gayleen Aiken, an exhibit curated by artist Peter Gallo, at the SUNDAY L.E.S. (now Horton Gallery) in New York, NY, in 2007[5] and Cousins, Quarries and a Nickelodeon[11] at the Luise Ross Gallery, NY in 2013.

She was featured in the 2013 Outsider Art Fair.[12]


  1. ^ "Our Visionaries: Gayleen Aiken". American Visionary Art Museum. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  2. ^ "Gayleen Aiken Biography". askArt. Retrieved 13 March 2016.
  3. ^ "Gayleen Aiken". Life in Legacy. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  4. ^ Lovinsky, Kathryn. "Gayleen Aiken". Retrieved 6 November 2017.
  5. ^ a b "Horton Gallery: Exhibitions: Our Yard in the Future". Horton Gallery, LLC. Retrieved 13 March 2016.
  6. ^ Congdon, Kristen G.; Hallmark, Kara Kelley (2012). American Folk Art: A Regional Reference. ABC-CLIO. p. 23. Retrieved 12 March 2016.
  7. ^ "Smithsonian American Art Museum: Search Collections: Gayleen Aiken". Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 12 March 2016.
  8. ^ "Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum: Some Cousins Dancing by Green Light Clock and Player-Piano". The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Retrieved 12 March 2016.
  9. ^ "PAFA Collections: GAYLEEN AIKEN". Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Retrieved 12 March 2016.
  10. ^ "Recent and Upcoming GRACE Exhibitions: Vermont Granite Museum, Barre, VT ~~ Works by Gayleen Aiken" (PDF). GRACE. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 December 2005. Retrieved 13 March 2016.
  11. ^ Johnson, Ken (14 February 2013). "Gayleen Aiken: 'Cousins, Quarriesand a Nickelodeon'". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 March 2016.
  12. ^ Smith, Roberta (31 January 2013). "Feeling Right at Home on the Fringe". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 March 2016.

External links

  • GRACE Gallery of art works by Gayleen Aiken
  • Review: Gayleen Aiken @ SUNDAY in the Brooklyn Rail
  • Gayleen Aiken at Luise Ross Gallery
  • Article: Raw Vision Magazine
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