Although I am a native of Massachusetts, my work has been influenced by
time spent living and working in other places. I develop new ideas for painting through my experiences of unfamiliar landscapes and people from other cultures. The light, atmosphere and emotional ambience of these different places are reflected in my work. My abstract painting language developed as a result of Dahn Hak meditation/yoga practice that I began when I lived and taught in South Korea. I have several series of paintings that reflect my experiences in Mexico, Berlin, Florida, and at painting residencies in Costa Rica, Santa Fe and Newfoundland.
I am a professional musician as well as a visual artist who has been actively painting since 1989. When my three daughters grew up I went to the University of Massachusetts in Amherst for an interdisciplinary degree which combined courses in both music and art. At the conclusion of that degree I was able to bring together my twin passions in an installation entitled Wounding, Wording, Weaving, that addressed itself to the difficult experiences of five women growing up in the patriarchal world of Christianity. This was an interactive interdisciplinary installation that combined composed music, painting, photomorphed drawings, and the women's spoken words. .
Since then I have addressed myself primarily to painting. The light and landscape of Newfoundland affected me so much that I bought a house there in 2003, and now I divide my time between Massachusetts and Newfoundland. My paintings have been exhibited nationally and internationally.
When I was ten we lived three quarters of the way up Douglas Mountain in southern Maine. Our house had a big round porch, and there was something about seeing the White Mountains on a clear day, being able to watch lightning storms as they traveled from town to town, and getting a rare views of the Northern Lights that activated my love of weather and atmosphere. This engagement has stayed with me and has affected my development as an artist.
In 2002 I traveled from Massachusetts to a painter’s residency at Pouch Cove in Newfoundland. I had a studio for the month of January that looked right into the ocean. The view was mesmerizing. Neither the place nor the people would let go of us, and a year later my partner and I came back to look for a house.
Now my studio is in the old fishing village area of Torbay, Newfoundland. We have wonderful neighbors and friends here. The studio sits on a thirty foot cliff looking out into the open Atlantic. I have now passed my fifth summer here, and a parallel between the weather patterns and my painting process has emerged. In this place there is a quickness to the weather. In one day mist, fog, rain and snow can all blow across so fast it seems like time-lapse photography. Often this endless shifting of greys clears at the end of the day with brilliant sunshine and a dramatic sunset.
I work in oil, my paintings are abstract, and I do a lot of glazing, layering, scraping and scratching so that the painting is always evolving. The colors of the environment and the energies of the weather are absorbed and then filtered through me to result in paintings that sometimes refer to the landscape directly, and at other times express spiritual states or states of the psyche. The finished work then represents layers of time, a kind of visual palimpsest - a record of the process I’ve gone through as I try to understand the image that is struggling to be expressed - much like the effects of time and weather on the environment around me.
I spend time both in Massachusetts and Newfoundland, and my paintings are exhibited at Christina Parker Gallery in St. John’s, and at the Agora Gallery in New York.
University of Massachusetts/Amherst: Master’s Degree, jazz composition: interdisciplinary degree including graduate courses from both music and art departments, culminating in a multimedia installation and exhibit at Herter May 1997.
Brandeis University: Course in feminist art history with Pam Allara.
DeCordova Museum, Lincoln, MA; course in contemporary art history with Nancy.
DeCordova Museum School: Advanced drawing and anatomy with King Coffin, Abstract painting and Abstracting the Figure with Timothy Harney. Boston Community Adult Education: Drawing with Carl Nelson. Private drawing study
with Mel Wiseman, Boston University.
Boston University, B.A. degree, music and philosophy.
Christina Parker Gallery, St. John’s, NL, Canada.
2008 Shifts in Balance, Christina Parker Gallery, St. John’s, NL
2002 Inner Landscapes, Burnett Gallery, Amherst, MA
2009 Toronto Art Fair,Christina Parker Gallery
2009 Time & Place, Third Annual Juried Exhibition, Sir Wilfred Grenfell Art Gallery, Corner Brook, Newfoundland
2009 Selections from the Archives, Zea Mays Printmaking Studio, Florence, MA
2008 Toronto Art Fair, Christina Parker Gallery, St. John’s, NL
2008 Strength in Color, Agora Gallery, Chelsea, NY
2007 Enigmatic Abstraction, Agora Gallery, Chelsea, NY
2007 Out of the Studio, Christina Parker Gallery, St. John's, NL
2007 Toronto Art Fair, Christina Parker Gallery, St. John's, NL
2007 Arts in Harmony,Elk River Art Center, MN
2007 Works on Paper, South Shore Art Center, Cohasset, MA
2006 Visions in Tune, Agora Gallery, New York, NY
2006 Abstraction and Landscape, Christina Parker Gallery, St. John’s, NL
2005 Toronto Art Fair
2005 Light-Stream, Christina Parker Gallery, St. John’s, NL
2004 Members Show, Eastern Edge Gallery, St. John’s NL
2003 New Members Show, Eastern Edge Gallery, St. John’s, NL
2003 Time Pieces, Barnes Gallery, Leverett, MA
2002 Small Wonders, Gallery A3, Amherst, MA
2002 Reactions: Collective voice in response to the tragedy of 9/11. Exit Art, NewYork, NY, moved to the Library of Congress, Washington, DC, 2003.
2002 New Members Show, Gallery A3, Amherst, MA
2001 Beyond Our Vision, Bemidjii Community Art Center, Bemidjii, MN
2000 One Hundred Sacred Visions, Payerbach, Austria
1998 Visiting Teachers Show, Kwangju, So. Korea
1997 Wounding Wording Weaving, Interdisciplinary multimedia installation, with fiber artist, DeAnna McConnell, Herter Gallery, UMASS/Amherst
1997 Recent paintings and assemblages, Carol Bajen-Gahm & DeAnna McConnell, Herter Gallery, UMASS/Amherst, MA
1996 Leverett Arts & Crafts Center, Barnes Gallery, Leverett, MA
1996 Joining Forces: Flowers and Art, Hampden Gallery, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
1995 New Works, Carol Bajen-Gahm & Delores Dunning, Harvard University Gutman Library, Cambridge, MA
1981 Concord Artists Collaborative Multimedia Exhibition, Concord, MA
1978 Kenneth Taylor Gallery, Nantucket, MA
1978 Main Street Gallery, Nantucket, MA
Time & Place, Sir Wilfred Grenfell College Art Gallery, catalogue, October, 2009
ARTisSpectrum, The Chelsea Perspective, full page article, Vol. 19, May, 2008.
Robert P. MacNamara Artist’s Residency, Westport Island, ME, March & April, 2006.
Santa Fe Art Institute, Santa Fe, NM, January 2006.
Julia and David White Artists’ Colony, Ciudad Colon, Costa Rica, March 2005.
Dorland Mountain Arts Center, Temecula, CA, June 2003.
Pouch Cove, Newfoundland, painting residency, January 2002.
awards and honors
Robert P. MacNamara Artist’s residency, stipend for attendance.
Joan Mitchell grant for attendance, Santa Fe Art Institute
Honorable Mention for Extreme Excellence, Stage Gallery, Merrick, NY, (Anne Ellegood, New Museum for Contemporary Art, curator) 2000.
UMASS Arts Council Grant, for Wording, Wounding, Weaving, 1997.
SACEF Grant, for Wording, Wounding, Weaving, 1997.
Wording, Wounding, Weaving Installation incorporated into curriculum for MU 150,
The Lively Arts, University of Amherst, 1997.
Zurich, Switzerland: grant-funded trip (aide to photographer and writer in the cataloguing and evaluation of paintings of
modernist painter and Jungian analyst, Barbara Hannah), 1989.
Margaret Ryall, St. John’s Newfoundland.
Hermann Stelzner, Amherst, MA.
Cathi Hanauer, Northampton, MA.
Michelle Egizi, Northampton, MA.
Jim Baird Gallery, St. John’s, Newfoundland.
Richard Gantt, Cambridge, MA.
Leslie Heinrich, Austin, TX.
Jessica Johnson, New York, NY.
Jill Brotman, Cleveland, OH.
Roy Thompson Jr., Cape Elizabeth, ME.
Arthur Thompson & AnneMarie Tardiff, Sarasota, FL.
Faculty Council, Northampton Community Music Center, 2001-2003.
Docent, DeCordova Museum, Lincoln, MA 1988-1990.
Founding Board Member, Emerson Umbrella, Concord, MA, (building & association for artists’ spaces), 1982-1983.