About Gilah Yelin Hirsch
Already a profound questioner at the age of ten, Hirsch wrote to Albert Einstein asking how he could reconcile being the greatest scientist in the world, and as she had read, believing in the wrathful god of the Old Testament. His reply included this advice: “Try to form your opinions always according to your own judgment.” This simple yet startling exhortation became the guiding meter of her life. Growing up, she continued to be mystified by the incongruities she observed around her, and developed an interest in science while, quite by accident, becoming an artist. Her fascination with these two supposedly very different disciplines led to an ongoing inquiry into the relationship between the two, and ultimately to her understanding that the artist brings abstraction into form, while the scientist brings form into abstraction.
Couched in the disciplines of anthropology, psychophysiology, psychiatry, psychoneuroimmunology, philosophy, theology and art, Hirsch’s work focuses on imagery as a powerful vehicle for physical and emotional healing. Her blending of science and art reveals existing relationships between form in nature, form in human physiology and behavior, as well as the forms that are present universally in all alphabet. Drawing from her years of solitary wilderness sojourns, biomedical and neuro-scientific research dealing with mind/body patterning, as well as her experience in diverse world cultures, including Tibetan Tantric visualization and Kabbala, Hirsch addresses the hardwired wisdom of the body as the repository of intuition and intrinsic knowledge — leading toward health and behavior benefiting the greater good.
Gilah Yelin Hirsch, (BA UC Berkeley, MFA UCLA), is a multidisciplinary artist, writer, filmmaker and Professor of Art at California State University, Dominguez Hills (Los Angeles) since 1973, Emerita 2020. An internationally exhibiting artist since 1968, she was one of the founders of the world’s first women artist organization, Los Angeles Council of Women Artists, (LACWA).
Hirsch’s dozens of international exhibitions, as well as public and private collections include the Israel Biennale, Jerusalem; the Whitney Biennale New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museo del Pintura, Oaxaca, Mexico; National Museum of Hungary, Budapest; the US National Endowment for the Arts, Washington, DC; Alexander Braun Collection, Budapest; Slovak National Museum; Bank of America National Banks, USA; California State University Dominguez Hills; University of California Medical Arts Collection, Los Angeles, CA; Museo del Pintura, Oaxaca, Mexico; city collections of Tourves and Correns, France.
Hirsch’s awards, honors, grants, fellowships and residencies include the International Society for the Study of Subtle Energies and Energy Medicine’s (ISSSEEM) Alyce and Elmer Green Award for her “innovative blending of science and art”; US National Endowment for the Arts; California State University, CA; CLASS Foundation, CO; Panavision Inc; California Community Foundation, CA; Fieldmouse Foundation, CA; Takahashi Foundation CA; US Embassies of Slovakia and Ukraine; Mountain Conservation Recreation Authority, CA; Dorland Mountain Colony, CA; Banff Center for the Arts, Canada; MacDowell Colony, NH; Rockefeller Foundation, Bellagio, Italy; Tyrone Guthrie Center for the Arts, Ireland; International Painters’ Symposia, Slovakia; Tamarind Institute of Lithography, NM; St. Martin’s School of Art, London, England; Syracuse University, NY; Rim Institute, AZ.; Morris Graves Foundation; Songambele Arts Festival, Kenya; New Delhi College of Art and Chandigarh College of Art, India.
Besides leading numerous creativity as well as art and healing workshops worldwide, Hirsch has given over 300 presentations/keynotes on her work at universities, institutes and conferences internationally (e.g. Santa Monica Museum, CA; Yale School of Divinity, CT; Haverford College, PA; McGill University, Montreal, Canada; Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia; Institute of Art, Science & Healing, Berlin, Germany; International Society for the Study of Subtle Energy Medicine, Kansas, US; First International Festival of the Arts in Bhutan; UNESCO’s 2015 International Year of Light Exhibition and Symposium, National Museum, Budapest, Hungary; International Society for the Study of Symmetry, Santorini and Kolymbari, Greece, as well as Adelaide, Australia; First International Painters’ Symposium, Oaxaca, Mexico; First International Painters’ Symposium, Mexico City; International Painters’ Symposium, Tourves and Correns, France; Seventh Annual International Conference – Culture, Spirituality and Mental Health, Kathmandu, Nepal; and the First World Congress of the Brazilian Academy of Philosophy, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Hirsch was also invited to present a TEDx talk on the Nature of Happiness in Bhutan, 2015.
As a filmmaker, her first film, Cosmography: The Writing of the Universe (1995, 1 hour), describes the discovery process of her theory on the origin of alphabet and continues to be used in universities, conferences, museums worldwide. Her latest film specifically geared to “kids of all ages”, Reading the Landscape (2019), presents the essence of her theory on origin of alphabet in a magical voyage around the world to twenty-five countries/cultures, most recently won awards at five international film festivals.
Hirsch’s papers Have been published in numerous journals worldwide including American Women Artists: The 20th Century, Knoxville Museum of Art; An Artist’s Book of Inspiration, Lindisfarne Press; Bridges magazine; Collections of Foreign Studies on Shamanism, Chinese, Dalian Nationalities University, China; Center for the Anthropology of Consciousness, Thresholds of Consciousness, San Diego, CA; Center for Environmental Energy Medicine Studies, Council Grove Conference, KS; Consciousness: Cultural and Therapeutic Perspectives; Feminist Art Journal; International Society for Academic Research on Shamanism; Institute of Theology and Anthropology, Republic of Buryatia, Tunka Region; ISSSEEM International Society for the Study of Subtle Energies and Energy Medicine Journal; Journal of Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, (English and Russian) Russian Academy of Sciences; Los Angeles Herald Examiner; Medical Anthropology & Bioethics Institute of Ethnology & Anthropology, Russian Academy of Sciences; The MIT Press: Leonardo journal of art and science; Polish Institute of World Art Studies & Tako Publishing House, Akaemiai Kiado, Budapest – Warsaw-Torun; The Journal of the International Society for the Interdisciplinary Study of Symmetry (International Symmetry Society); The Quest: Philosophy, Science, Religion, Arts; Vietnam Museum of Ethnology (VME); WINN (What Is Needed Now) blog; Women’s Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal.
Please link to this website’s Published Papers and New Media page for more details and a complete listing.
Hirsch’s published books include The Traveling Exhibition (2005) and Demonic to Divine: The Double Life of Shulamis Yelin (Vehicule Press, Canada) on the relation between creativity and mental illness.
Archeology of Metaphor, a retrospective exhibition of Hirsch’s work will open Oct. 1, 2022 at OCCCA, Orange County Center for Contemporary Art.
Gilah Yelin Hirsch resides in Venice, California. Her archives are housed in the Smithsonian Archives of American Art, Washington, DC.
For a complete list of Public and Private Collections, please email the studio.
Studio & Home
“I do believe that my house is a living entity. Not only is it rich in natural materials, but it has a definite vibration. One feels differently when entering… in creating a painting a moment arrives when the image begins to reveal itself. Similarly a deeply considered house: at a certain point, all the dedicated elements begin to merge, a unique personality is born, and it too begins to breathe on its own.” – GILAH YELIN HIRSCH
Selection of images from Cottages in the Sun – Bungalows of Venice, CA by Melva Levick & Margaret Bach