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

Sometimes an event, a thought, an experience smacks us in the face and challenges an integral part of our existence. It agitates the significance of things we considered salient, forces us to recalibrate our priorities, question meanings we were certain of, and see something we previously overlooked. I feel lucky, since my work has found a way to face and slowly digest those aspects of life, by gradually removing the layers under which things not easily addressed, are purposefully buried. Those layers provide comfort, yet not satisfaction. Removing them provides a sense of control and, I think, joy.

Most of my work is rather large and slow, even the smaller works usually incubate over time, providing me with an opportunity ask questions, give some ambiguous answers, and most importantly, play – a proven way to learn anything. Much of my imagery becomes fragmented, translated, and strung by associations. When something begins to look too much like its symbol, 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. I am interested in investigating the sources of my assumptions, questioning my beliefs regarding the identities of things, analyzing the origins of my fears, and enshrining what is dear to me. I ask 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.