Archaeology of Metaphor, The Art of Gilah Yelin Hirsch, published by Skira editore spa, Milan debuted at the opening of a retrospective exhibition of the same name curated by Donna Stein at the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art, Santa Ana, CA, October, 2022.

This 182 page monograph, the first comprehensive international publication on the artist, creates a kaleidoscopic context for Hirsch’s perpetually evolving, multi-disciplinary work. The richly illustrated volume includes more than 100 images and consists of an in-depth conversation between Stein and Hirsch, as well as two provocative essays probing the oeuvre of the artist by Canadian psychiatrist Laurence Kirmayer and American art historian Carolyn Stuart.





  • Archaeology of Metaphor

The Orange County Center for Contemporary Art (OCCCA)
was pleased to present
Archaeology of Metaphor: The Art of Gilah Yelin Hirsch

Exhibition curated by Donna Stein

Dates: October 1 through 29, 2022

Click to view artist’s walkthrough video

About the Exhibition

This retrospective celebrates Canadian American artist Gilah Yelin Hirsch who is an influential professor of art and a pioneer of the Feminist art movement in California. The exhibit brings together original ideas in art, science, ecology, human consciousness and the additional timeless themes of race and equality.

Meaning has always been Hirsch’s primary subject matter. She has continually searched for substance beyond the obvious. In her inventive handling of ordinary subject matter like everyday food, and by superimposing images over each other in a dynamic conversation of call and response, she manipulates time through space in her quest for as yet undiscovered order. It is the unknown that lures her. There is no end to this search for it is the direction of the soul. While Hirsch is primarily a painter, the exhibition will also include monotypes, photographs, books, two films and contextual materials. The pervasive question is: Does one think because of what one sees, or does one see because of what one thinks?

Artist Statement

My paintings are about the ineffable, the ascent toward numinous where light reigns. I embark on the mysterious voyage toward revelation with a thought, memory, word, embodied in a charged swirl of a multicolored brush.

The discovery process continues with layer upon layer of call and response to the developing image as more associations, thoughts, memories, or patterns are triggered. Elevating, ritualistic non-specific forms emerge. Fascinated, I am driven by emerging clues toward finding the elusive entirety. I am hooked into an experiential dig, an archeology of elemental form analogous to the careful search for images scratched and painted into caves preserved beneath layers of time and history, slowly illuminated for the first time. I am ultimately persuaded that an original life has been conjured when the new form breathes on its own and ceases to ask for attention – when light and shadow have achieved a unique reality that is welcoming, resonant, relevant and healing.




News & Announcements

Current Events –

May 13 – August 21: Sages, Lancaster Museum of Art, CA, exhibition by artists who have taught art for many years, curated by Betty Brown

June 12 – June 20: Keynote speaker, Artist as Scientist, and Visiting Artist, International Art and Science Festival-IASF-2023, June 12-20, Lokman Hekim University, Ankara Turkey/Turkiye. The festival is held in cooperation with Lokman Hekim University and Kupula Art Mexico. The catchword of the festival will be Art for All and Health for All.

June 22: Film screenings by Gilah Yelin Hirsch of her videos: Reading the Landscape and Cosmography: The Writing of the Universe at Hungarian Academy of the Arts, Budapest, Hungary.

June 23 – July 6: Representing the U.S. in International Painters’ Symposium, Tiszanana, Hungary

Future Events –

August/September – Film screening in Budapest, Hungary: Reading the Landscape and Cosmography: the Writing of the Universe

Recent Publications –

Archaeology of Metaphor: the Art of Gilah Yelin Hirsch published in October, 2022


Click to view Gilah’s current newsletter with additional news and announcements