Paula Cahill


Line is everything. Extending infinitely to the past and future, line forms the basis of our realities.

––Paula Cahill

Philadelphia-based artist Paula Cahill makes works containing a single continuous line. This line, sometimes a bold loop, sometimes a jumbled mess, is formed by laying down numerous gradients of color one brushstroke at a time. Her work is interactive, inviting the viewer to track a meandering, color-changing path. Cahill pushes the historical conversation with line into the contemporary, striving to elevate the integral role it has played in art, design, and the sciences since its early appearance in rock and cave drawings.

After moving to Philadelphia from Detroit, Cahill received her BFA from Tyler School of Art and Design. She went on to complete an MFA at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, winning merit and academic scholarships along the way. In her arts education, she studied the figure and painted fish for many years. Eventually, Cahill became more interested in the way fish were moving in the specific space of the aquarium than the fish themselves. She tracked their movements with line, and in 2011, these recordings became the subject of her first large-scale abstract paintings. Geometry, personal experience, visual semantics, and art history all inform Cahill’s work. Her most recent works give a nod to Diego Rivera, Pablo Picasso, Egyptian art, and Renaissance perspective. Cahill’s bold lines emerge into the modern landscape through her unique layering of color. Her paintings are playful yet investigative, inviting yet challenging. 

Cahill’s work has been shown throughout Philadelphia, the Northeast, and California in solo and group shows for which she has won multiple awards including the Best of Show at the Perelman Center. Her work is held in private and public collections including Temple University, PNC Bank, Capital One, and Morgan Stanley. Cahill has been working out of her Kensington/ Fishtown studio since 2013. 

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