Dana Kotler was born in Odessa, Ukraine, grew up in Jerusalem, Israel, and relocated to New York with her family in her teens. She received her MFA from the New York Academy of Art, has shown in a number of solo and group exhibitions, and is a recipient of two Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grants, among others. Dana has taught courses at a summer study abroad program in Dingle, Ireland, as well as in colleges in Boston, MA, and San Diego, CA. Currently, she is working out of her studio in Hoboken, NJ, and teaching courses at Hofstra University. 

Artist Statement

My work is a way for me to face, digest and try to understand my experiences of being alive. Most of my pieces are large, slow, and often overworked, even the smaller ones usually incubate over time. They materialize gradually from one part to another, allowing me to make my way through the work intuitively, ask questions, fragment, puzzle back together, and most importantly play.

I’m fascinated with space, and play with the relationships between flatness, illusion, relief and sculpture. I often incorporate various materials into the work, such as: wood, concrete, knitting, old paintings, etc., as well as further push the possibilities of familiar media, in order to experience a new kind of resistance. This resistance makes the process feel more like a dialogue: when I suspend my control and let the medium have its say the work is capable of surprising me, and it feels like a cooperation. I experience discomfort at having literal imagery in my work. When something begins to look too much like an impersonal symbol of itself, I tend to expand its meanings and obscure its clarity, because I think that everything is more full and extensive than its surface or its name. At times, on the contrary, I tend to overdo the literalness, and incorporate too much detail until I feel the image turning into something I haven’t seen before.

I am interested in investigating the sources of assumptions, questioning beliefs regarding the identities of things, analyzing the origins of fears, and enshrining what is dear to me. I imagine it would benefit the viewer to make the very safe assumption that nothing is sure, and that knowledge can distort our vision. Let perception be based on observation, intuition and visceral logic, rather than informed expectations.