Ellen Kozak paints along shorelines, observing the fusion of movement, color, and reflection on the surfaces of bodies of water. Her recent collages are inspired by the nighttime traffic of barges, tugs, and tankers seen from her studio beside the Hudson River. The collages incorporate printed patterns from her paintings: quick brush-marks that mimic river surfaces affected by the intersection of both natural (tide, current, wind) and manmade (watercraft, engines, wake) phenomena. Kozak finds rivers especially radiant at night, when vessels’ colored lamps are reflected in moving water, at times through an atmosphere of moonlight and fog. In 2019 she was a resident fellow in the Auvillar, France program of the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. The collage shown here is based on observation of the Garonne River that ran alongside her Auvillar studio.
Ellen Kozak is a painter and video artist who lives in New York City and in the Hudson River Valley. She was an early explorer of video as a graduate student and fellow at MIT’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies. She also attended the Massachusetts College of Art, and studied shōdo, traditional Japanese calligraphy, in Japan. Her recent 4-channel video installation, riverthatflowsbothways, was shown at the Hudson River Museum, as well as at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art and The Sylvia Wald and Po Kim Gallery in New York. She has an upcoming solo show at David Richard Gallery in New York. Kozak has also had solo shows of paintings and video at the Katonah Museum of Art; Elizabeth Harris Gallery, New York; Cross Contemporary Art, Saugerties, New York; Katarina Rich Perlow Gallery, New York; and Nina Freudenheim Gallery, Buffalo. Her work is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, Fogg Museum, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Smithsonian Institution, Hudson River Museum, and the Tochigi Prefectural Museum of Art, among others. The physical presence of the river in her daily life and work has fostered a concern for protecting all bodies of water from ecological challenges. Kozak was a founding member of Riverkeeper’s Leadership Council, and is on Riverkeeper’s Board of Directors.