Elise Kaufman


Elise Kaufman

Walter Benjamin, The Arcades Project, describes the difference between “Trace” and “Aura”. Trace is “…the appearance of nearness, however far removed the thing that left it behind may be. The aura is appearance of a distance, however close the thing that calls it forth. In the trace, we gain possession of the thing; in the aura, it takes possession of us.” My work features landscapes of the NYC waterfront, Cape Cod, MA and Irish “Ghost Estates. Despite the polarity between industry , pristine ocean-front, and Irish countryside, examining Absence is the commonality and my muse. Like Benjamin, I ask: what remains, psychically and physically, when some thing ceases to be? Red Hook, Brooklyn, an industrial waterfront neighborhood, is being transformed through re-development. The shacks of coastal MA are in perpetual transformation: wind and ocean shift sand, and swallow cottages. Benjamin suggests that there is something constant and perpetual that may be left behind as “aura”. Difficult to define, ineluctable, illusive, these remains are haunting and visually compelling. I hope that the audience responds to what I respond to: a kind of unruly beauty which presents itself to us in surprising ways: rusting steal, vacant windows, torn fences, tiling shacks, pocked facades, half finished homes in Ireland, eternally vacant so that eventually they are reclaimed by the land. Exposed and vulnerable to either the wrecking ball or to Nature’s elements, both the “Trace” and “Aura” remain constant reminders of what is and what once was. My drawings document that point in-between.


b. 1961
Lives and works in Brooklyn, NY

  • 1990Queens College of the City University of New York, MFA
  • 2012Elise Kaufman - New Work, Shore Galleries, Provincetown, MA
  • 2011Elise Kaufman - Postcards from the Edge - new drawings, Shore Galleries, Provincetown, MA
  • 2011Residue, Mills Gallery, Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA
  • 2011Eastern Shores, Hillwood Art Museum, CW Post College, LIU, Glen Head, NY
  • 2011Marked Differences, Kentler International Drawing Space, Brooklyn, NY
  • 2013Ballinglen Arts Foundation, Co. Mayo, Ireland
437 8th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11215