Erlich’s iconic style is raw, vital and spontaneous, yet also displays the skill and gloss of a well-seasoned artist. It is the brilliant combination of striking, even haunting portrait-like features with the light, grace and somewhat abstract fluidity of her more decorative style that makes her work so inspiring. Be it in the muted haze of a retreating figure, the subtle turn of an outstretched ankle, or the provocative expression of her subject, Erlich brings us face to face with our own reality, but softens the blow with a hint of froth and bubble.
Esther Erlich is best known for her gritty style of portraiture. In 1998 she won the prestigious Doug Moran Portrait Prize, has been a finalist in the Portia Geach Memorial Award and the Archibald Prize multiple times.
Cleverly, the artist manages to hold our attention with the intense stare of her subject, whilst seducing us with the sometimes frivolous but eternal search for beauty. Erlich’s artistic career spans 28 years and she is represented in both public and private collections nationally and abroad, including the CAE, Victoria, Performing Arts Museum, National Portrait Gallery , ALP Building, A.C.T., and the National Library, Canberra.
Since 1983, Esther Erlich has exhibited extensively both in Australia and internationally in Japan (1993) and Hong Kong (2003 & 2007), totalling more than 30 solo exhibitions and 22 group exhibitions. Of these, seventeen solo exhibitions have been held with Libby Edwards Galleries in Melbourne, Portsea, Sydney and Brisbane.
The Doug Moran Portrait Prize 1998; Winner Archibald Peoples’ Choice 2000, Dobell Drawing Prize Finalist 2007 & Charlatan Ink Prize Finalist 2011 (New York)