b. 1970 New York, USA, where she continues to live and work
Since leaving Yale School of Art, Ellen Altfest has developed her own distinct approach to figurative and representational painting.Her naturalistic paintings are able to transform humble or intimate subjects—like houseplants, gourds, or a man’s underarm—into evocative, psychologically loaded objects that almost exceed realism.When painting the human body, Altfest frequently represents traditionally masculine models. Through astute detail to cosmetic imperfections and individual hairs, these images oscillate between desire and detachment. When discussing her work, Altfest preferences ‘making compositions that are awkward and go against what might be considered pleasing’. She titles all her works with a blunt descriptiveness, as in the work Studio Window, 2003, currently featured in the Zabludowicz Collection.