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Work Samples

Living room (night)

Drawing of a shadow of plants and windows on a wall at night
Charcoal and graphite on Rives BFK, 42-1/2” x 63”

Room #3, May 12th, 2022, YWCA South Hampton Roads Emergency Shelter

Black and white drawing of a messy bedroom
Charcoal and graphite on muslin, 58 by 90 inches

Judith watches over

Black and white drawing of a bedroom
Charcoal and graphite on Rives BFK, 28-3/4” x 39-3/16”

Living Room (afternoon)

Drawing of a fern with an afternoon shadow of a window and fern fronds on the wall behind.
Charcoal and graphite on Rives BFK, 42-1/2" x 47-3/4”


About Erin

Baltimore City

Erin Fostel's picture
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... more

YWCA Shelter Bedroom

I was invited by the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art to create work for their exhibition "More than Shelter." After I expressed the interest to shift the focus of my women's bedroom series to depict transitional spaces used in time of need, the museum facilitated a partnership with the YWCA of South Hampton Roads. I was invited to visit the YWCA  women and family emergency shelter and create a drawing depicting one of the rooms.  A few days prior to my scheduled visit, a woman had unexpectedly vacated her space. I was granted access to photograph the room as she left it behind. From these photos I stitched together a composite and then drew it to scale from the viewpoint of the room's doorway. Shown is Room number 3 as it looked on May 12th of 2022.

Shadow Drawings

As I was sequestered inside my home during the pandemic, I became captivated by the movement of light. Early on, I began photographing the fleeting shapes of sunlight and shadow that appeared throughout the day. Having collected hundreds of images, I would not decide to draw them until a year later, when I experienced the devastation of a miscarriage. The overwhelming sadness that I felt necessitated the creation of something beautiful. The photographs had captured visible moments of ephemerality and when drawn at life size each moment gained permanence and weight. The process of drawing each image felt akin to making my grief visible. Although these drawings are deeply personal, they are universal in their relation to how others experienced their homes during the pandemic and during times of their own grieving.

Women's Bedrooms

Since early 2019, I have been working on a series of drawings of women’s bedrooms. After spending several years drawing public spaces I wanted to focus on private interiors. My shift in interest from exterior to interior spaces coincided with a realization that I had been watching many of the women in my life rebuild their homes, often after upheaval. I developed an interest in acknowledging the resiliency required in rebuilding one’s life, and wanted to display the value of sanctuary within the home. I focused on the bedroom as a unique place where a sole woman occupant can be free of much of the objectification and expectation imposed upon her most anywhere else in her life, which is why her figure is explicitly not shown. We acknowledge her through representation of her space, rather than her body. 

The Weight of Absence

This series of drawings depicts architectural structures located in the city of Baltimore, my hometown. This work initially stemmed from a place of loss. As I grieved the death of my father, who was an architect, I used representations of physical structures to attempt to create an external vessel to hold my immense feelings of grief. I found these structures by exploring the City on foot, by bike, or by car. By building space and form through the layering of charcoal marks, I created tonal landscapes, rendering both the city and my internal world. As the work progressed, I developed an increased interest in the interplay of presence and absence, where the tangible and intangible become intertwined.

East Baltimore Crankie

In January of 2018, David Native Son Ross and I performed a collaborative crankie. A crankie is a scrolled panorama, and for our performance I created 15 drawings of East Baltimore. As I cranked through the drawings, David performed a spoken word piece he specifically wrote to accompany the images.  Included here is a video of the performance and a few of the drawings. Once the performance was completed, the crankie scroll was cut up and sold.

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Erin's Curated Collection

This artist has not yet created a curated collection.