Gayleen Aiken (born mid 1930s - 2005)
Gayleen Aiken started painting as a child and has never stopped. Born in Barre, Vermont, major themes in her work are the large old farmhouse where she grew up, the granite industry, and musical instruments. She united these diverse interests in her work by means of a large, imaginary family of twenty-four “cousins,” the Raimbillis. Aiken explained, “the Raimbilli cousins love hobbies and old-fashioned things - like I do. They sing, tell jokes, play music and dance in the moonlight.” Aiken’s work has been shown in major exhibits of American folk art in the United States and Europe, and is the permanent collection of the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Museum of American Folk Art in Williamsburg, Virginia. Aiken was the subject of an award winning film, “Gayleen,” by Jay Craven and has been the recipient of a Vermont Council on the Arts Fellowship. “Moonlight and Music: The Enchanted World of Gayleen Aiken” was published by Harry Abrams in 1997. Aiken’s drawings and paintings were featured in the traveling exhibition “Signals and Messages: Celebrating 25 Years of GRACE” in 2001 and she was recently featured on the cover of the Winter 2003 issue of Raw Vision magazine.