Gwen at Martha Jefferson Exhibit
Photo by Bill Cates
Gwen with paintings of the Rivanna River at Martha Jefferson Hospital Exhibit


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Biography of Gwen Cates from "The Visionary Paintings of Gwen Cates--2024"

Gwen Cates is a contemporary American artist who focuses on colorful East and West Coast landscapes and figurative works. A fearless and prolific painter, Gwen Cates began her career at Virginia Commonwealth University and Hollins University. For over half a century, she has exhibited across international stages in Britain, Italy, and the United States. Looking at her extensive body of work, Gwen Cates' art and life interweave as one artful conversation. Gwen describes herself as a contemporary colorist.

Gwen Cates says, "I was discovered by my first-grade teacher and never looked back. Visitors to my gallery often look across the fields and tell me they had never noticed so many colors in the landscape before."

Most recently, Gwen Cates has captured the grandeur of Monument Valley with a series of oil on canvas landscapes she has entitled "Artistic Visions of the Majestic Monument Valley." In the colorful series, Cates artfully explores the spiritual and natural wonders of Utah while maintaining her signature vibrancy and flair. Her visual narratives promise a captivating journey through spiritual and natural wonders. The exhibit was inspired by the late Larry Holiday, an esteemed member of the Navajo community who suggested that Gwen Cates paint Monument Valley. The paintings are magnificent to view in person but can also be appreciated digitally.

Gwen Cates says, "Each of my solo exhibits over the years has had a different theme, and each time my goal has been to express what I have seen in the living landscape or sense in the world around me. Some of my paintings explore deep-seated archetypal images drawn from earlier imaginings, figurative paintings, research, and dreams. I paint to transform these concepts through vibrant color and strong compositions. My goal is to create powerful and imaginative paintings. I use acrylic paint and mediums to create layers and embed gold leaf, algae from oak trees, butterflies, and other natural materials in my work."

In a recent solo art exhibit in downtown Los Angeles, "Cosmic Adventures," the abstract series of paintings took us on a journey between worlds. The art of Gwen Cates invited the viewer to leap into other dimensions and explore a mytho-poetic adventure. Traveling deeply into her subconscious and the world of dreams, Gwen Cates reveals fantasies from her imagination. She creates archetypal images and incorporates winged figures, horses, and other animals into her compositions. Swatches of fabric, lace, gold leaf and lichen from oak trees are some of the elements that are included in the paintings. From black holes, to new stars, nature collages and horses jumping through astral planes of existence, Gwen Cates never fails to astonish!

Gwen Cates says, "At this point in my career, I have shown my paintings in many solo and shared exhibits around the United States and in Britain. Each solo exhibit has offered a unique challenge, not only from a creative perspective but also a logistic one. I am reminded of an exhibit in London when I had to roll up each painting and ship them in cardboard tubes, reassemble them and then my daughter drove her horse van into Earl's Court in the city center. Luckily the effort was worth it, because the metaphysical art show at Edith Grove Gallery was a great success, with all the painting selling to a curious, rather royal and enthusiastic audience. There was nothing to take home but new friendships and a smile."

Gwen Cates currently lives on Whiskey Ridge Farm in Charlottesville, Virginia where she works in her art studio. The Rivanna River borders a portion of the farm. In good weather, Gwen takes her French easel and oil paints down to the river to do plein air paintings. She also rides her horse into the river and works from photos offering that unique perspective of being in the water.
Gwen Cates has an ongoing exhibit in Charlottesville, Virginia featuring her "Seasonal Reflections on the Rivanna River." This series of paintings emerged after living beside the Rivanna River and watching the river through all four seasons over a seven-year period. This exhibit is a mixture of landscape (or river-scapes) that begins with paintings of vibrant spring river full of new life, leading to a lazy summer river, colorful autumn paintings, and then the stillness of snow on the riverbanks. The viewers follow the paintings sunwise from the spring paintings around to winter paintings. Just like memories, the paintings could be viewed in reverse also. The idea is to become increasingly aware of our imaginative "innerscapes" as we view work and become inspired to create the art, poetry, and music that lives within us. They can be viewed on her larger retrospective website:

The Rivanna River series begins with paintings depicting the emerging new life of spring. The spring paintings are brightly colored and swirling with activity, as is demonstrated in Cates' oil on canvas "Springtime on the Rivanna River." The summer paintings are of a lazy river filled with reflections of the busy life that takes place around the waterway. Gwen Cates enjoys riding her horse Cherokee through the river. The first oil on canvas painting in the summer series is "September Ride Up A Lazy River" in which a multicolor river is seen through the ears of a horse. "Autumn Wander on the Rivanna" takes us into the change of seasons with vibrant orange and golden leaves reflected in the blue water. "Snowbanks of the Rivanna River" echoes the stillness of winter.

Gwen Cates' talent and diligence places her in an esteemed position amongst female artists of the 21st Century. She has made her mark amongst American painters and is an artist all connoisseurs of fine art and art collectors should know about.

Download my 2024 Resume as a PDF


Exhibit 2024 Monument Valley ONE DAY Art Show Trove Gallery, Park City, Utah
"Artistic Visions of the Majestic Monument Valley" (pdf press release click here)

Exhibit 2019 Gwen Cates "Cosmic Adventures",
Solo Art Exhibit in Los Angeles
Salon at the Granada

Exhibit 2018
Chroma Gallery Rivanna River Event
Painting published in Artemis Journal

Exhibit 2017
Exhibit of ten Rivanna River Landscapes on exhibit at Martha Jefferson Hospital
Commissioned painting, Love on the Other Side, acrylic collage
Fecundmellow Launch published in Artemis Journal

Events 2016
Gwen Cates moved to Virginia.
Built and began painting in Whiskey Ridge Studio

Exhibits 2015
Artist’s Talk, C Gallery, Earth, Bread, Fire - June 20
Solo Abstract acrylic, C Gallery, Los Alamos, Cosmic Monologues - May – June 24
Exhibit, SYV Studio Tour Artists at the Elverhoj Museum - May - June
LAXART Gallery, Santa Monica Blvd. Hollywood, CA, a selection of abstract paintings
C Gallery, Cosmic Horses, Chinese Year of the Horse, pop up show January

Selected Exhibits 2014:
Los Olivos Quick Draw, Featured Artist with exhibit in Mattie's Tavern Garden Room - August 16
Gloria Delson Contemporary Gallery exhibit with Opening on LA Artwalk - February

Selected Exhibits 2013:
Gloria Delson Contemporary Gallery exhibit with Opening on LA Artwalk - May
Gloria Delson Contemporary Gallery exhibit with Opening on LA Artwalk - June
Los Olivos Quick Draw, Featured Artist with exhibit at St Marks Church - August


Cheetah with African Motif, a 5'x9' mural painted in Gwen's studio and installed in a private home in the Hollywood Hills.

Santa Ynez Valley Artists' Studio Tour sponsored by The Wildling Art Museum

AGSYV Avant exhibit & Silent Auction


Solo exhibit of Gwen Cates' abstract paintings, "Interior Monologues,"The C Gallery in Los Alamos September and through November.


Solo exhibit of contemporary plain air landscapes, COLORSCAPES, at GALLERY BLEU in Los Angeles during the month of

February with two catered receptions featuring wine from Tantara Winery.

Shaw Galleries in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania exhibited a collection of Gwen's vineyard paintings with a reception featuring wines from Tantara Winery.

Exhibit and Slide Show of Gwen's vineyard paintings at The Duquesne Club in Pittsburgh with a presentation of Tantara Wines.

Hollister Ranch Paintings at Gallery 113 in Santa Barbara on the Mezzanine.


Santa Ynez Valley Studio Artists' Tour sponsored by The Wildling Art Museum.

Solo exhibit of Gwen Cates landscapes at the Ballard Inn and Restaurant.

Tantara Winery Spring and Fall Open Houses.

Faulkner Gallery and at Gallery 113 group shows in Santa Barbara.

AGSYV exhibit at Cabrillo Pavillion in Santa Barbara.


Gallery 113, La Arcada Court, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz Island Paintings on the Mezzanine

The Meisel Gallery AGSYV show at the Rehabilitation Institute in Santa Barbara.


Major cash award at the SBAA Faulker Exhibit, January

Gwen painted on Santa Cruz Island with a group of SCAPE artists.

Tantara Winery Open House.

Body of Work group show at the Elverhoj Museum in Solvang.

Gwen gave an oral presentation and exhibit of her Sedgwick Ranch landscapes at Sedgwick Ranch.


2006 Colorscapes, a solo exhibit of paintings at the Elverhoj Museum in Solvang and Painting the Bell.

Corridan Gallery Kickoff Exhibit for Santa Barbara Studio Artists Studio Tour.

2005 Featured artist for the Santa Barbara County Vintner's Association Spring Festival.

2004 Featured artist for the Santa Barbara County Vintner's Association Spring Festival.

Fox Searchlight invitational exhibit of Santa Barbara County landscapes at the Gala Premier of the film, "Sideways"

2002 Faulkner Gallery East in Santa Barbara.

Los Olivos Wines and Spirits Emporium hosted "An Evening of Tantara Wines and Gwen Cates' Art"

2003 Artist of the Month at the San Luis Obispo Artists' Gallery

2001 Solo exhibit at ArtBrut in Los Alamos.

1999 Downtown Inn Art Gallery, Charlottesville, VA

1995 Alex Gallery, DuPont Circle, Washington DC, Upstairs Gallery

1994 Alex Gallery, DuPont Circle, Washington DC, Main Gallery

1992 Edith Grove Gallery, Chelsea, London, UK

1990 Edith Grove Gallery, Chelsea, London, UK

1986 Ivy Gallery, Charlottesville, VA

1982 Living Gallery, Roanoke, VA

1981 Yeatts Gallery, Roanoke, VA

1979 Another Gallery, Roanoke, VA

A new major California hotel commissioned and purchased five giclee prints on canvas of Gwen's landscapes. Gwen was commissioned by Los Olivos Wines and Spirits Emporium to do a painting of the Emporium that appears on their Vin Gris wine label. The William Morris Agency sponsored Gwen to paint 3 angel sculptures, "Zodiac Angel", "Angelscape" and "Guardian of Small Creatures" for the for the Community of Angels project. Gwen painted a life-sized colt sculpture for the Santa Ynez Valley Equestrian Center. "The Santa Ynez Valley Colt" was sold at a gala auction at Sunstone Winery and is on display at Dennee's in Santa Ynez.

Gwen's paintings are in collections in England, Europe and the United States including Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, Santa Ynez Cottage Hospital, Linda Foster Moves, Personal Training Center, Rome, Italy; Carlos and Ingeborg Coelho private collection in LA Hollywood Hills, Radford University, president's executive office suite, Radford, Virginia; Patrick A. Feiner private collection, Amsterdam, Netherlands; General Motors - Fanuc, Detroit, Michigan; and the City of Roanoke Permanent Collection, Roanoke Civic Center Auditorium.

Gwen studied Fine Art at Virginia Commonwealth University and at Hollins University where she graduated with honors.

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