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)
is pleased to present
Archaeology of Metaphor: The Art of Gilah Yelin Hirsch

Exhibition curated by Donna Stein

Dates: October 1 through 29, 2022

Opening: Saturday, October 1, from 6:00 – 10:00 p.m.
Artist Walkthrough: Saturday, October 1, 4:30 – 5:30 p.m.

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 and Recent Events –

Archaeology of Metaphor, Retrospective Exhibition, OCCCA, Orange County Center for Contemporary Art, Santa Ana, CA, Oct. 1-29, 2022

Art and Healing, presentation in Arts and Healing Seminar, Summer Course of the Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry, visiting faculty/guest presenter, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University, Montreal, May 30 – June 5, 2022

Gilah Yelin Hirsch delivered a keynote presentation: The Lineaments of Oneness: From Exile to Independence at the 7th World Congress and School on Universal Logic (UNILOG 2022), Chania/Crete (Greece), April 6-11, 2022

Recent Presentations –

The Wedding of Mysticism and Science: From Aleph to DNA – or DNA to Aleph? Online presentation, 8th Biennial Conney Conference on Jewish Arts, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, March 27-30, 2022

Recent Exhibitions –

Imagining Lost Glyphs of Xochicalco, preparing for Miktlan. Second International Painters’ Symposium, El Retorno al Miktlan, KAM, Mexico City, 2021

Let There Be Art, Temple Beth Am Virtual Art Show, 2021

Hope/Esperanza, International Art Exhibition Online, emanating from Mexico, dedicated to the many artists we have lost in to Covid in 2021.

Recent Publications –

Meeting Elmer Green, WINN, January 7, 2022

The Yelin Family Torah: Gilah’s Story, Medium, digital publication, August 2021

Brush or Pen: 1000 Strokes or a Thousand Words?, International Journal of Healing and Caring, January 2021 issue, Volume 21, No. 1


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