Ellen Altfest, ‘Green Gourd’, 2007, White Cube

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About Ellen Altfest

With exquisite attention to the minutest details, Ellen Altfest produces naturalistic paintings that transform humble or intimate subjects—like houseplants, gourds, or a man’s underarm—into evocative, psychologically loaded objects that almost exceed realism. Altfest paints from life in every sense, faithfully recording the crevices on the surface of a gourd or each pore and every hair covering a man’s thigh. This abundance of detail, combined with Altfest’s tight framing, is at once seductive and excruciating: “I like making compositions that are awkward and go against what might be considered pleasing,” she says.

American, b. 1970

Group Shows on Artsy

2016
Biennial of Painting: Yoknapatawpha, Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Deurle
2016
Intimisms, James Cohan, New York
2014
Paint New York, Kunstforeningen GL STRAND