Isa Gagarin is an interdisciplinary artist whose work explores subjects including color, natural phenomena, and autobiography.  Using painting, drawing, installation, performance, and video, Gagarin explores color relationships with an emphasis on working responsively to site. The transient qualities of natural phenomena such as solar eclipses, tides, and rainbows prompt Gagarin to draw connections between her work and personal-political experiences of place in Hawai’i and Guam. Gagarin holds an MFA in Painting and Printmaking from Virginia Commonwealth University (2018) and a BFA in Painting from Minneapolis College of Art and Design (2008). Gagarin lives and works in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Isa Gagarin



2018 MFA Painting and Printmaking, Virginia Commonwealth University

2008 BFA Painting, Minneapolis College of Art and Design


Solo Exhibitions

2019 Estuary, Hair and Nails Gallery, Minneapolis, MN

2019 Synchronous, Page Bond Gallery, Richmond, VA

2019 Color in Motu, Forage Modern Workshop, Minneapolis, MN

2016 Heliotuduc, The White Page, Minneapolis, MN

2012 Occultation, Kiehle Gallery, St. Cloud University, St. Cloud, MN

2011 Sea of Fecundity, Emerging Artist Exhibition, Rochester Art Center, Rochester, MN

2011 When Her Son Flies in the Sky, Dressing Room, Minneapolis, MN (catalogue)

2011 Marsh of Sleep, Art of This, Minneapolis, MN (catalogue)

2009 Beru, Midway Contemporary Art, Minneapolis, MN


Group Exhibitions

2020 Future Future, Hair and Nails Gallery, Minneapolis, MN

2019 Phone Home, EFA Project Space, The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, New York, NY 

(curated by Wendy Vogel)

2019 Group Exhibition, Hair and Nails Gallery at 9 Herkimer Place, Brooklyn, NY

2019 Two-Person Exhibition, Intervals, RCA Emerging Artist Series, Regis Center for Art, 

Minneapolis, MN

2018 Two-Person Exhibition, juntos pero no revueltos, Good Weather Gallery with PARQUE 

Galería and Condo, Mexico City, Mexico (with Hugo Montoya)

2018 Gather, Page Bond Gallery, Richmond, VA

Emerge VII, Page Bond Gallery, Richmond, VA

2017 Two-Person Exhibition, Page Bond Gallery, Richmond, VA (with Jaydan Moore)

2017 Emerge VI, Page Bond Gallery, Richmond, VA

2017 The Candidates, Virginia Commonwealth University Painting + Printmaking MFA 

Candidacy exhibition, Richmond, VA

2016 Selected Works, Public Functionary, Minneapolis, MN

2016 Art: Group Exhibition, Page Bond Gallery, Richmond, VA

2016 Current Location, Waiting Room, Minneapolis, MN

Selected Group Exhibitions, continued

2015 Topographies, MCAD Main Gallery, Minneapolis, MN

2014 Trieste, Grimm Gallery, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (catalogue)

2014 Addendum, Chicago Artists Coalition, Chicago, IL

2014 Objects for Consideration, Soo Visual Arts Center, Minneapolis, MN

2013 A Study in Midwest Appropriation, Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, IL (curated by

Michelle Grabner)

2013 You Must Stand This While Reading There, David Petersen Gallery, Minneapolis, MN

2013 ,,,, Soap Factory, Minneapolis, MN (catalogue)

2012 Tropical Art Show, Stevens Square for the Arts, Minneapolis, MN

2010 A Theory of Values, Soap Factory, Minneapolis, MN

2010 FLATLINE, Sellout Gallery, Minneapolis, MN

2009 The Sensual World, Synchronicity, Los Angeles, CA

2009 September Sounds from a Silver Shape, Art of This, Minneapolis, MN

2009 Systems and Process, Sound Gallery, Minneapolis, MN

2008 Meander, Soap Factory, Minneapolis, MN

2008 La Raccolta, Plateau, Minneapolis, MN (catalogue)


Awards and Residencies

2018 David Wurtzel Artist Fellowship and Residency (July 1-23), Montespertoli, Italy

2016 Artist Residency and Exhibition Program, The White Page (February 12–March 11), 

Minneapolis, MN

2016 Artist Grant and Residency, Vermont Studio Center (January 2–January 29), Johnson, VT


Lectures, Presentations and Panels

2020 “In Response: Rituals of Regard and Recollection,” panelist, Law Warschaw Gallery,

Macalester College, St. Paul, MN, March 3.

2019 Artist Talk, Hair + Nails Gallery, Minneapolis, MN, November 13.

2019 Lecture/Presentation, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, October 11.

2019 Lecture/Presentation, Williams College, Williamstown, MA, October 24.

2019 Lecture and Graduate Critiques, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, February 27.

2014 Lecture and Graduate Critiques, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, October 27.

2014 Lecture and Undergraduate Critiques, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, April 14.


Teaching Experience

2019-20 Adjunct Faculty, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Minneapolis, MN

2018 Adjunct Faculty, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Minneapolis, MN

2017-18 Instructor of Record, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA

2016-17 Teaching Assistant, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA

Published Works

Aposiopesis. Minneapolis: Wopozi, 2015.

When Her Son Flies in the Sky. Minneapolis: Dressing Room, 2011.

Location: Volume 1. Minneapolis: Location Books, 2010.

Sea of Waves. Minneapolis: Hot Off The, 2010.



Sara Fowler, “Color and Sense,” MAKE MN, Vol. 4 No. 2 September 2019.

Mia Lopez, “Heliotuduc,” Inreview, Spring 2016.

Vincent Ulribe, “Artist of the Week,” LVL3, April 28, 2016.

Jay Heikes, “Trieste,” Grimm Gallery, 2014.

Andy Sturdevant, “Potluck Supper With Meeting to Follow,” Coffee House Press, 2013.


Gallery Affiliation

Page Bond Gallery, Richmond, VA

Color has been central to my artistic interests throughout the development of my work. I am fascinated by how color functions as a perceptual experience and color’s capacity to be embodied in a variety of materials. Educated in painting, my practice is focused on mixed media works on paper and site-specific installation. I use both of these artistic processes to create compositions that convey a sense of movement and dynamic color relationships.

When I develop a site-specific installation, I search for a particular quality in a space that compels me, and make creative decisions in an effort to orient the viewer towards those attributes. For example, I created Intervals (2019) in response to a long and narrow gallery. During preliminary visits to the exhibition space, my curiosity was drawn to the gallery walls, which appeared visually fragmented because they were interrupted by doors, alcoves, and concrete columns. I applied fabric directly on the walls in rectangular segments that mimicked the vertical geometry of the architecture, resulting in an installation spanning sixty feet in length. I painted the fabric with washes of blue-green-grey punctuated with yellow segments, and cut away parts of the fabric to create an elongated and wave-like curve across the length of the piece.

My mixed-media works on paper inform my installation work by honing my understanding of color perception. I often work on multiple collages simultaneously, using scraps of torn paper to freely explore color relationships in varied compositions. When I carry this process from two-dimensional work to installation, color’s relativity becomes exponential in terms of the scale, lighting and overall feel of a space. Surprisingly, I have discovered that when I consciously engage with characteristics of a space that existed before introducing my work, the resulting installations embody unconscious qualities that are deeply personal: my introspective reverence for beauty and quietude. The tidal relationship between river and ocean. In turn, my work invites the viewer to draw their awareness to the unique ways in which they experience color, light and space.