Ellen Altfest

Ellen Altfest
Two Logs, 2005
oil on canvas
48.3 x 71.1 cm

Ellen Altfest’s Two Logs mesmerises as a feat of monumental concentration. Bordering on abstraction, her still-life becomes lost in its own representation, each detail independently captured becomes a reverie of its reproduction in paint. Consumed by the making, Altfest uses her simple subject as a departure into an inner consciousness, allowing her gestures to form as unmediated psychological response to the scene. Flirting between reality and dream state, her work conveys an impalpable ambience through the luxurious materiality of her surfaces.

Ellen Altfest
Penis, 2006
oil on canvas
30.5 x 28 cm

Focussing on the male member, Ellen Altfest’s Penis is painting up close and personal. Drawing from the hyper-realism of Chuck Close’s portraits, Altfest approaches her intimate subject with detailed obsession. Every wrinkle, vein, and hair is represented with painstaking accuracy, transforming ‘a bit of the other’ into a terrain of investigative wonder. Through the complexity of her process, Altfest denatures the abject into a field of inspiring contemplation. Each gesture and brushstroke encapsulates a metaphysical consumption, where desire and fixation are conveyed through the sensual study of painting itself.

Ellen Altfest
The Tree, 2001
oil on canvas
152.4 x 114.3 cm

Ellen Altfest
Tumbleweed, 2005
oil on canvas
106.7 x 132.1 cm

Working from life rather than photos, Ellen Altfest’s paintings exude an experiential quality: capturing the transference the impact of looking as it becomes imprinted in memory, she replicates her personal engagement with the objects as a tangible sensation on her canvas. Tumbleweed offers a cosmos of this ethereal state. Stranded between representation and intuitive painterly indulgence, Altfest proposes a vision of quiet contemplation, rendering a bewildering beauty from the study of the simplest things.

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