Dana Kotler was born in Odessa,
Ukraine, and grew up in Jerusalem, Israel, after which she has relocated to New
York with her family. She has received her MFA from the New York Academy of
Art. Dana instructs a summer study abroad course in Dingle, Ireland, and
has taught courses in colleges in Boston, MA, and San Diego, CA. Dana has
displayed her work in a number of group and solo exhibitions, and is a
recipient of two Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grants, among others.
Currently, she is working out of her studio in the New York area.
My work feels to me like a place in which to play with memories, associations, beauties, surprises and anxieties. A multitude of decisions, accidents, mistakes and discoveries, overlay each other forming a constantly shifting, but slowly crystallizing substance - a higher understanding of anything is not necessarily achieved in the end, but is certainly hoped for. As the layers build up, old decisions are made tangible, and new unexpected ones take shape, it is always play. All that digs deeper into the various absurdities - which are common to all who are alive, and the vivid associations - that are particular to my accident, to seek some meaning, some sense, or at least some peace. The process feels like an excavation, that gradually removes the layers under which we purposefully bury what we cannot easily address. Those layers provide comfort, yet not satisfaction. I am glad that this process is considered art.
Most of my work is large and takes place over a period of time, since I
need that time and space to accumulate actions, and let them interact with each
other, as well as let it keep shifting itself in proportion to life. Sometimes
I manage to make smaller pieces, but those also end up having to incubate over
time. I am interested in surfaces that have lived, and in the experience of
living with them. The sources of my imagery stem
from direct perception (primarily still lifes), imagination, memory, and
sometimes photography. I usually find definitions to be limiting and
unsatisfying, hence when something begins to look too much like its symbol
rather than like itself in my work, I tend to expand its meanings and obscure
its clarity, because I think that everything is much more full and extensive
than its surface or its name. I ask the viewer to make the very safe assumption
that nothing is sure, and that knowledge often distorts our vision. To let any perception be based on observation, intuition and memory – often a more
fascinating experience than one resulting from informed expectations.