Erin McCluskey Wheeler

Adventitious II
14″x14″x1″; painted paper, cyanotype, found paper suspended from redwood; 2021

Erin McCluskey Wheeler
Richmond, California, USA


Erin’s work is all about reinvention and restoration. The artist cuts up, groups and rearranges her paintings on paper and found papers in a process of transformation, an intentional act of breaking apart and putting things back together. The process starts with color and texture and is additive and iterative, letting the pieces determine the final composition and shape of the pieces. She uses paper, with its ubiquity, ephemerality, and lack of intrinsic value, because it can be transformed from the ordinary to the extraordinary through the application of paint, the cutting of shapes, and in combination with other papers. Often the papers are sourced from other artists, students and collaborators, and this act of using paper that has passed through others hands is a way to create community and long distance collaboration. Erin approaches her work almost as an art restorer, completing shapes that have been cut, finding the forms under the layers, and matching the colors found with paint mixed directly on the surface.


Erin McCluskey Wheeler is a painter, collagist, writer, curator, and teacher based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Erin works in many series at once and across disciplines in painting, collage, works on paper, prints, and poetry. There is always a careful attention to placement, selection, and adjacency in both her writing and her visual art. Each medium with its different qualities, allows Erin to explore ideas about memory, language, color, and place, while retaining a unified voice that reflects on the power of color and connection.

Erin has a BA in studio art and art history from Beloit College, and an MFA from California College of the Arts. As an undergraduate, she did an intensive study of traditional brush painting at Kansai Gaidai University in Hirakata-shi, Japan. Erin is a faculty member of the 92nd Y School of the Arts in New York City and teaches collage and mixed media classes throughout the Bay Area. Erin has shown extensively in galleries across the country and is a represented artist with the Roaring Artist Gallery, a virtual gallery showing the work of visionary women artists. Erin’s artwork is licensed and sold through West Elm, Minted, Target, and Samsung.


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Adventitious I
12″x14″x1″; painted paper, photographs, found paper suspended from redwood; 2021
59″x59″x1/4″ as installed; 144 4″x4″ collages mounted on wood panels and arranged in a grid; 2018-2021 (ongoing)
I’m lonesome when you’re around
9″x12″; vintage car ad, acrylic and gouache on paper; 2018
Without you, I am surely the last of our kind
16″x12″; vintage car ad, acrylic, gouache, crayon, on paper; 2018