Fern T. Apfel


Today when emails are quickly read and deleted, these paper keepsakes survive.

The most important thing to know about my paintings is that they are not collage. Each letter, envelope or stamp is painted with many layers of acrylic paint. All the writing and fine detail work is done with archival pens. I work from real letters and memorabilia that I have gathered over many years and from all over the world.

Most of the letters in my paintings can be read. They come from different decades and locations, but their content is amazingly and endearingly timeless. 

These images represent relationships that were maintained across distances and referential dialogues extending through many years. In old letters we find loved ones, parents, old friends, and our old selves.

Space and color are key elements in these minimal compositions as the ephemera transform into abstract shapes. Because each letter has its own story, here, surprisingly, abstraction and narration go together.

Today when emails are quickly read and deleted, these paper keepsakes survive.


Solo Exhibitions

2023           Main Gallery, The Art Center of the Capital Region, Troy, NY (Forthcoming, January)

2022           Courthouse Gallery, Lake George, NY (Forthcoming, March)

2016           Word & Image, Davis Orton Gallery, Hudson, NY

2011           Studio Wall, The Art Center of the Capital Region, Troy, NY

2007          The Book Pictures, The Hotchkiss School, Lakeville, CT

2007           Inks & Collages, Café Gallery, Old Chatham, NY

2002           Museum Peace: Reflections on a Collection, Columbia Co. Museum, Kinderhook, NY

2002           Museum Peace: Reflections on a Collection, Hudson Opera House, Hudson, NY

2000           Daily Grace, The Shaker Museum & Library, Old Chatham, NY

1999           Daily Grace, Berkshire Community College, Pittsfield, MA

1999           Daily Grace, Westfield State College, Westfield, MA



Two & Three Person Exhibitions
2022            Clement Gallery, Troy, NY (Forthcoming, August)

2021           The Hallway at Second ST Studios, Troy, NY

2020           Pulp Gallery, Holyoke, MA

2019           Upstate Invitational, Laffer Gallery, Schuylerville, NY

2019            Beyond Limits, Albany Center Gallery, Albany, NY

2018           Narrative, Concepto Gallery, Hudson, NY

2016           Mohawk Hudson Invitational, Albany Center Gallery, Albany, NY



Selected Group Exhibitions

2021           In, On, Of Paper, Presented by Zeuxis, There Space, NY, NY

                   One in a Year, The Painting Center, NY, NY

2020           Making a Way, South Bend Museum of Art, South Bend, Indiana

                  Fish & Dish: A Fresh Take on Still Life, Woodstock Art Assoc. & Museum, Woodstock, NY

                  Artists of the Mohawk Hudson Region, Albany Institute of History & Art, Albany, NY

                  National Juried Exhibition, First Stree Gallery, NY, NY

                  From the Pages 2, Paradigm Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

2019           Nine by Nine, Pulp Gallery, Holyoke, MA

                  Ear to the Ground, Ely center for Contemporary Art, New Haven, CT

2018           Home, Collar Works Gallery, Troy, NY

2017           Undercurrents: The River as Metaphor, Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, New Paltz, NY          

2016            Reclamation, Collar Works Gallery, Troy, NY

                  Recent Acquisitions, The Hyde Collection, Glens Falls, NY

2015           The Arkell Museum Juried Art Show, The Arkell Museum, Canajoharie, NY

                  Give & Take: Decentralization Individual Artist Grant Recipients, Catskill, NY

2014           Worlds of Wonder, Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, New Paltz, NY

                  Small & Seductive: Contemporary Art from the Institutes Collection, Albany Institute, Alb., NY

2013           Out of Print, Albany Public Library, Albany, NY

2012           TYPO: Artists using the Alphabet as Visual Language, Greene Co. Council, Catskill, NY

2011           Hudson River Contemporary, Boscobel House, Garrison, NY

2010           Eye Rhymes, The Tang Teaching Museum & Gallery, Saratoga Springs, NY

                  The Imagined Word, Albany International Airport, Albany, NY

2009           The Collage Show, Spencertown Academy, Spencertown, NY

2005           Midyear Exhibition, Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio

2001           Work: Shaker Design & Recent Art ,The Tang Teaching Museum, Saratoga Springs, NY

                  Recent Acquisitions, Schenectady Museum, Schenectady, NY

2000           Artists of the Mohawk Hudson Region, University of Albany Art Museum, Albany, NY




Art Seen Magazine, The Curator’s Salon, Spring 2022 (Forthcoming)

WMHT/PBS: A house for Arts: February 10, 2021

Fish & Dish: A Fresh take on Still Life, Art Valley: Art & Culture in the Hudson Valley, April 10, 2020

Dispatches: Stories from Four Gallery Destinations: Art on the Outskirts: Western Mass’s Edgy Scene,

                   Art in New England Magazine, Sept-Oct 2019: The Gallery Issue, p. 42-44

Create Magazine, Spring 2019

Glue Sticks & Growth: Artist & Alumna Fern T. Apfel reflects on inspiration and taking one’s time, TheLittleRebellion.com by Joshua Goberdhan, Dec. 6, 2018

Invitational Show features often challenging work of four gifted artists by William Jaeger, Times Union, Albany, NY, June 2016

Fern Apfel: Painting, type and Ambiguity by Jesse DeGroodt, The Chatham Press, Sept. 2013

Berrry, Ian. Work: Shaker design & Recent Art. Published by The Tang Teaching Museum & Art Gallery, Saratoga Springs, NY, May 6, 1993


Select Awards & Recognition

2020           Best in Show, Fence Select, Ian Berry, The Tang Teaching Museum, Juror

2019           Martha Boschen Award, Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation

2019           Finalist, The Hopper Prize

2018           Best in Show, The Laffer Gallery

2018           Alumni Jurors Award, State University of NY  Jean Shin, Curator

2015           The Hyde Collection Purchase Prize, The Hyde Collection

2014           Albany Center Gallery Award in Honor of Les Orbach, Stephen Westfall, Juror

2010           Best in Show, 14th Annual Juried Show, Columbia Co Council on the Arts, Janet Riker, Juror

2008           First Prize, 12th Annual Juried Show, Columbia Co. Council on the Arts

2005           Clement Greenberg Award, Midyear Exhibition., Butler Institute of American Art

2002           Individual Artists Grant, New York Foundation for the Arts

2000           Juror’s Award, Mohawk Hudson Regional, Xu Bing, Juror

2000           Purchase Prize, University of Albany Art Museum

2000           Purchase Prize, Schenectady Museum

1998           Individual Artist Grant, New York Foundation for the Arts

1998, 1996, 1993, 1992  SOS Grant, New York Foundation for the Arts          

1977-1983  Nessa Cohen Memorial Award (2x), Elizabeth Carstairs Merit Scholarship, Board of Control Special Scholarship (2x), Art Students League of NY, NY




The Art Students League of NY, 1977-83

The State University of New York at New Paltz, 1972