Artist Feature – Dana Kotler
“My work likes to live somewhere in between figuration and abstraction, clarity and ambiguity, flatness, and sculpture. Each piece develops intuitively, using as its starting point some aspect of experience that is repeatedly on my mind – an essential unease, a memory that I am attempting to come to grips with, a question that I struggle wrapping my mind around, or a concept that I am unable to define. I’m most comfortable making large scale overworked, detailed pieces. My smaller works tend to be a kind of zoom in, a fragment that intends to distill a bigger picture onto a small scale. I dive into the work by building up what I know about the piece, which is usually not much, and trusting a loose vision, fragments of thoughts, or a sense of how materials, shapes, colors or textures may interact. I try to listen to the work, and see where it takes me, which feels very much like playing or thinking out loud.
The work usually wants to possess some space of ambiguity. When its content or imagery is too clear, I begin to feel claustrophobic and dogmatic. I want to provide the viewer with a freedom of interpretation, and a space to impose their own associations and meanings upon the work. I tend to avoid literalness, and when I am creating something recognizable, I want its language or materials to feel like something I haven’t quite seen before. This leads me to explore multiple kinds of visual languages and media within each work, and forces me to constantly reinvent my wheel.
I imagine it would benefit the viewer to make the very safe assumption that nothing is sure, and that knowledge can distort our vision, letting perception be based on observation, intuition and visceral logic, rather than informed expectations.”
Dana Kotler was born in Odessa, Ukraine, grew up in Jerusalem, Israel and studied painting at the New York Academy of Art. Dana has shown in solo and group shows in the US and in China. Most recently her work was included in exhibitions at Silvermine Gallery, Touchstone Gallery and Ely Center of Contemporary Art, and was featured in Reed Magazine, ArtMaze Magazine and the upcoming issue of New American Paintings. Dana is a two-time recipient of the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant, and teaches courses around the US and in Ireland. Currently she works out of her studio in Hoboken, NJ.