Ellen Kozak, Shoreline, 2016, Gesso, Oil Paint, Wood Panel - Painting by Ellen Kozak
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Ellen Kozak
Ellen Kozak, Shoreline, 2016, Gesso, Oil Paint, Wood Panel



Visual associations between color and movement inspire, often arriving when observing the continuous motion we see in bodies of water. A glimpse of fleeting colors will spark a complete proposition for a painting. fSince 1994 Ellen Kozak has had a studio on the bank of the Hudson that looks out on the river during all seasons. Working at the river’s edge in close physical contact with her surroundings reveals subtly shifting phenomena, both natural and man-made. She is motivated by properties that attend to things rather than by the things themselves: properties such as color, luminosity, and reflectivity. Optical sensations such as afterimage also enter the picture. The physical properties of water, atmosphere and environment are reliably engaging sources. She works with these components in an empirically responsive and experimental way. Both water and oil paint share properties of viscosity. Exploring paint as a mimetic medium, she uses its physicality to perform in ways similar to my subject. Ellen Kozak is a New York City-based painter and video artist whose work brings together concepts and crafts from both media. She is one of videos early explorers in whose current painting process influences from this background are evident: her use of time and duration; her use of varied lenses as devices for mediated observation; and her use of optical phenomena and color. Kozak has also created artists’ books and collaborated with writers Dore Ashton, Stephen Mitchell and Geoffrey O’Brien. Kozak’s works have been exhibited in museums, nationally and internationally. At MIT’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies she worked in video and as a CAVS fellow showed in Documenta VI, at the Koelnischer Kunstverein and the American Center for Artists and Students, Centre Pompidou. With awards from the Sloan Foundation and the Cambridge Council of the Arts her early video and video installations were exhibited at the List Visual Art Center at MIT and the Addison Gallery of American Art with Jock Reynolds as director. While working in Japan between 1982 and 1984, Kozak was guest lecturer at Seian University of Art and Design. JVC provided support for her video projects and the Osaka Museum of Contemporary Art, the Tochigi Prefectural Museum of Art, and Gallery Amelia in Tokyo held exhibitions of her work. Kozak lived in a mid-sized town where very little English was spoken. She studied shodo, traditional Japanese calligraphy, which proved transformative and influenced a shift in her means of expression towards painting, a more direct and open process at that time. Kozak is the recipient of artist residencies at the Blue Mountain Center, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Prix Résidence Moulin a Nef in France as well as two residencies at Yaddo. Following her 1990 Yaddo residency, Kozak began painting in a studio in upstate New York. Her first solo exhibition was in 1992 at 55 Mercer Street Gallery. Other solo exhibitions in New York include Carolyn J. Roy Gallery, Elizabeth Harris Gallery, the President’s Gallery at Pratt Institute, Art Resources Transfer, Katerina Rich Perlow Gallery, and The Hudson River Museum of Art. Kozak has received grants from NYFA’s Fiscal Sponsorship Program, the George Sugarman Foundation and the Pratt Institute Faculty Development Grant Fund. Kozak’s approach to video and to painting share connections. She uses bodies of water and their reflective surfaces as varied kinds of lenses and synthesizers: fusing reflections of celestial activity with surface pattern, motion, and manmade disturbance. Atmospheric conditions such as fog and mist are additional influences. The Katonah Museum of Art commissioned her single-channel video “Notations on a River” for her exhibition “Hudson River Trilogy: Ellen Kozak” in 2009. Reviews of her work have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Art in America, Art & Antiques, Art New England, The Print Collector’s Newsletter and other publications. She has written on video for the journal Media Arts. In 2012 the residency Prix Résidence Moulin à Nef, provided a studio on the bank of the Garonne River where she painted and continued to develop Miroirs and riverthatflowsbothways, both 3-channel video installations. Kozak works in New York City and in the Hudson River Valley. Working along the banks of rivers for over twenty years, has made her keenly aware of the fragility of the environment and of special new challenges. She participates in efforts to promote awareness through her involvement with the environmental organization Hudson Riverkeeper. These concerns are incorporated into her work. Collections in which her work is included are The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Brooklyn Museum, The Fogg Art Museum, The National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, The Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, The Hudson River Museum, The New York Public Library, Yale University Sterling Memorial Library, Museum of Modern Art Library among others.


  • Condition
  • Dimensions

    H 24.5 in. x W 28 in. x D 1.5 in.

    H 62.23 cm x W 71.12 cm x D 3.81 cm

  • Gallery location
    Brooklyn, NY
  • Reference number

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