international painting annual 6 exhibition-in-print
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Ellen Holtzblatt
Chicago, Illinois

detail image


My most recent series of paintings are linked through the exploration of the connection between the physical and the spiritual. Landscape becomes a metaphor for psyche and emotion. I think about place and how my surroundings impact my feelings and thoughts. I have lived in Chicago most of my life, but my soul is most stirred in places that seem beyond the control of humans.

"I Have Let You See It With Your Own Eyes" is a self‑portrait.  The painting incorporates images of a particular space, and utilizes visual and symbolic language to connect the material world to my internal experiences. The title of the painting comes from the biblical text, in which Moses is not allowed to enter Israel. Instead, God takes him to a mountaintop where Moses is merely permitted to view the land from a distance. In this painting, like Moses, the figure sees the land without being able to touch it.

The specific land that is depicted in many of my paintings is the Orkney Islands in Scotland, a place that I visited twice, the last time over 25 years ago. The islands are isolated, sparsely populated by humans, and a fierce and beautiful landscape and sea. They represent a stark contrast with my busy and noisy city life.  So many years since I have been there, and my two most vivid memories are of light and wind.  Ultimately, the islands have become, as I live a life of responsibility, the place where I live in my imagination and dreams.

My landscape paintings are based on the representational world, but my process of painting them is as abstractions.  I do not paint what I know about a tree; rather, I paint the colors, lines, shapes, movements and tonal values.  It is through this surrendering of conscious control of the emotive qualities of the subject that allows the paintings to emerge from the unconscious and to attain a deeper and more genuine response to my visual inspirations. 





born: 1957, Chicago, IL



School of the Art Institute of Chicago, BFA, 1983
School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Graduate Certificate in Art Therapy, 1986
University of Illinois at Chicago, M.Ed., 2008


selected awards/honors

Artist Residency, Ragdale Foundation, 2015
The Art Sprinter Competition, NY, First selected finalist, 2015
Illinois Arts Council Professional Development Grant, 2013
CAAP Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency, 2011


selected publications

Holtzblatt Paintings at Glimer Gallery Explore Tension Between the Physical and Spiritual, Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun-Times, 2014
We Are Living in a Golden Age of Jewish Art and We Really Don't Know It, Matthew Baigell; Jewish Cultural Aspirations, Ruth Weisberg, Editor; USC Casden Institute and Purdue University Press p 1-31, 2013
Biblical Narratives in Contemporary Jewish American Art, Matthew Baigell; Shofar An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies, Purdue University Press p 1-24, 2013
Multiple Limited Unique, Selections from the Permanent Collection of The Center for Book Arts. New York, NY: The Center for Book Arts p 82, 2011


selected solo or two-person exhibits

From Birth to Memory, Josef Glimer Gallery, Chicago, IL, 2014
Memory and Birds, Renaissance Court Gallery, Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago, IL, 2014
Under the Wings: Birds From the Field Museum, Harold Washington Library, Chicago, IL, 2013
Recent Paintings, A. Montgomery Ward Gallery, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, 2012


selected group shows

Women of the Book, Jerusalem Biennale, The First Station, Jerusalem, Israel, 2015
Fields of Dreams, Yeshiva University Museum, New York, NY, 2015
As Subject and Object: Contemporary Book Artists Explore Ancient Hebrew Texts, Museum of Biblical Art, New York, NY, 2013
Zerstreut in Alle Welt, Inselgalerie, Berlin, Germany, 2011



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