Adam Erlbaum


Archived Work

Diagram Series

Square Series

Artist's Biography

Adam Erlbaum received a BA in Mathematics from The Colorado College in 2002. He has attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the University of the Arts, and the MFA program at the Vermont College of the Fine Arts. Erlbaum has exhibited in Philadelphia, Aspen, South Carolina, and St. Louis.He paints at The Mill Studios in Philadelphia.

Artist's Statement

Adam Erlbaum jokes that his Journal series is a "Topological Hooked on Phonics." Accordingly, his 5-by-6.25-inch sketches begin with word fragments or short words. Erlbaum works on a 30-unit-high by 24-unite-wide grid. On canvas, this most easily translates to an eight-wide by ten-high grid of 3-inch squares. Erlbaum prepares canvases the day before with a heavy, even wash of color. He then divides the canvas into equal quadrants and grids out each one separately. This practice reduces bowing when drawing lines with a stretched canvas with a ruler. Erlbaum programs his brush-hand through repetition, learning sequences of marks. Finally, he performs these sequences in each finished work.

The series title, "Journal," comes from a writing critique Erlbaum received. He was told he had written, "a journal not a memoir." Erlbaum proceeded to write a journal, on canvas, to be viewed as a painting. In his previous "Letter" series, he employed letters and even words. Despite this, Erlbaum still had the sense that he was making "normal paintings." The high color and high energy of the Letter series did not distract from the fact that the letters and words were strictly dependent pictorial elements. The role of the letters and words is what, for Erlbaum, defines the Journal series. In the Journal series, the words and letters read independently, while cooperating pictorially.

Selected Exhibitions

New Now IV, The InLiquid Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Viewpoints 2021, Studio Montclair, Montclair, NJ

The Text and Visual Language Exhibition, St. Louis Artists Guild, St. Louis, MO
Juror: Tate Foley

Disentangled Yesterday, InLiquid at The Yard Center City, Philadelphia, PA

8th Annual National Juried Exhibition, Bower Center for the Arts, Bedford, VA
Juror: Deborah McLeod

31st Annual Juried Competition, Center for the Arts, Rock Hill, SC
Juror: David Detrich

Shipley School Alumni Exhibition, Artists' House Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

The Mill Open Studio Tours, Philadelphia, PA
Exhibited paintings

US Bank, Aspen, CO
Exhibited paintings

I Brewster Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
Exhibited Paintings

Professional Experience

2006 - Present
Adam Erlbaum Studios, Philadelphia, PA


2017 - 2018
Wayne Art Center, Wayne, PA
General Education Non-Degree Art Classes
Studied under Kassam Amoudi

Gotham Writer's Workshop, New York, NY
Non-Degree Student

2012 - 2013
Vermont College of Fine Arts, Montpelier, VT
MFA, Visual Art
Studied under Humberto Ramirez and Nils Karsten

2003 - 2005
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA
General Education Non-Degree Art Classes
Studied Color with Patrick Arnold

2003 - 2005
Main Line Art Center, Haverford, PA
General Education Non-Degree Art Classes
Studied with Mimi Oritsky and Kassam Amoudi