Ellen Zaks began 2019 with her painting ‘Admonition’ being exhibited in the exhibition ‘Red Glow’ at Nouvelle Vague, a dynamic new gallery in Marbella. Previously in 2018, she had a solo show for the month of September at Magpie International Gallery, Marbella and also showed at Es.Arte, San Pedro. In June, she was invited to donate work for an auction which sold and raised money for a children’s charity.
At the moment she is in conference with the London based choreographer Jenny Lee, having been invited to produce drawings for paintings at rehearsals of her latest work. Jenny Lee has produced work for Ballet Central along with such luminaries as Wayne McGregor, resident choreographer of the Royal Ballet, London.
Due to her connections with ballet, Ellen’s work is sought after in the ballet world. Other admirers include Stephen McCrae, principal dancer at the Royal Ballet, Covent Garden and Columbian principal dancer, Joseph Phillips.
Born in London Ellen became interested in art at about the same time she started learning ballet, wanting to express what she felt in her body when she danced.
Before studying for her degree at Brighton University, she attended classes in anatomy and life drawing at the Sir John Cass College, London. She joined the innovative and exciting Expressive Arts course at Brighton University, where she specialised in art and dance. Here, under Helen Chadwick, guest tutor at the time, she experimented with silk-screen mono-printing.
Brighton has always been a hotbed of theatrical events and Ellen attended many exciting contemporary dance performances i.e.: DVL Physical Theatre, Sankai Juku and Rambert. Through her dance tutor Liz Agiss, she was involved with fringe theatre at the famous Zapp Arts Club. She also met Norwegian artist Franz Widerberg who became a seminal influence in her work. We could say of her painting as of his ‘his art evokes symbolic associations with universal human themes’. (Knut Berg, Director, National Gallery, Oslo)
Ellen’s degree show included painting, photography, sculpture, drawing and mono silk-screen prints. The centre-piece of her exhibition was a life-size clay figure with hollowed form, allowing the interpenetration of light, initiating her preoccupation in finding a painterly language to suggest the invisible energies that surround us, very much in line with the discoveries of quantum physics.
After graduation, Ellen decided that painting was her medium and was soon exhibiting. Redressing the appreciation of the male nude in a controversial one-woman show at Brighton Library, her exhibition was nearly shut down.
In 1999, she exhibited with artist Stefan Dowsing in ‘Tranceforms’ at the Hawth, Crawley, the first of several joint exhibitions. A reviewer of Ellen’s work at the time wrote ‘The paintings of Ellen Zaks take us on a highly charged journey through a reality defined by particle physics - electrifying!’
Also in that year, Ellen showed in London for the first time at The Winter Gallery, Brick Lane and subsequently the following year with at The Alchemy Gallery, Islington.
In 2003, Ellen left England to live and paint in southern Spain. She was soon featured as Artist of the Month in the glossy magazine ‘Essential’ and invited to exhibit at the British and International Art Gallery, Marbella. In the same year her painting ‘Adam Kadmon’ was shown in Amsterdam and Seoul as part of an international exhibition “1001 Reasons to Love the Earth”.
Her next exhibition, where she showed a new cycle of paintings was at the Hella Maria Hoffner Gallery, Puerto Banus - 2004/5. A painting from this show was featured on the front cover of La Chispa Magazine.
More exhibitions followed. 2006 – ‘From the Skin to the Soul’ at Galería Manuel Lecrín, Almuñecar, Granada and Cafeconlibros, (2007) a small but influential gallery in Malaga, two doors away from the birthplace of Picasso.
‘Painting the Soul’ saw Ellen exhibiting in a two person show in 2009 at the prestigious Houses of Art Gallery. Next year, in 2010 she showed at De Vittori Art Space in ‘The Golden Mile’, Marbella. A short documentary on her work was televised for Spanish TV. Also in that year she showed in Mijas Pueblo and Galería Mura in Alicante.
In 2016 Ellen participated in an Art Residency in Georgia where her painting was selected for the Palace of Culture in Tblisi.
Recently, she has also exhibited internationally in New York, Paris and in London at the Curwen and New Academy Gallery, and at the Blackheath Gallery.