Elsie Kagan is a Brooklyn-based painter. She received her MFA from the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia and her BA from Wesleyan University.

Throughout her career, Elsie has been committed to creating art that sparks dialogue and discourse. Her painting and works on paper pull various visual languages together into provocative interaction. Currently, she pairs imagery and stylistic devices from Northern European 16th and 17th Century painting and American Abstract Expressionism into large-scale, visually dense and exuberant paintings.

Kagan’s work has been exhibited throughout the United States, including the Philadelphia Artists Alliance, the tART Collective, Galleria Galou, 440 Gallery, Brenda Taylor gallery, the Crane Arts Center, Rivington Design House Gallery, and Wesleyan University. Her work has been featured in the Washington Post, Flavorpill LA, artfagcity and other blogs, and the Brooklyn Record. Her public murals in the San Francisco Bay area and elsewhere have received numerous awards and grants. Recently, she attended the Vermont Studio Center residency program on a fellowship from the Sustainable Arts Foundation.  


I want to recapture the moment I awakened to painting as a girl, encountering a small Dutch oil sketch and feeling it was made precisely for me. Recent work draws from both 17th Century Northern European painting and live observation, fusing the form of familiar, older works with an attention to paint’s materiality; looking for both pictoral space and surface 'presence,' without sacrificing either. My work describes the way stems of a plant refract in water, and also how gravity pulls color down a surface, seeking that charged moment when paint is both a smear, and a cluster of blossoms.


b. 1977, Berkeley, CA
Lives and works in Brooklyn, NY

  • 2005Tyler School of Art, MFA
  • 1999Wesleyan University, BA
  • 2013Nethermead, Rivington Design House Gallery, New York, NY
  • 2012SeaFair, With Brenda Taylor Gallery, Greenwich, CT
  • 2015feel the power, Lightbox Gallery, New York, NY
  • 2015at the old gem, Arts@Renaissance, Brooklyn, NY
  • 2014Surface, LAH Gallery, Boston, MA
  • 2013Curate NYC, Elisa Contemporary Gallery and Rush Arts NYC
  • 2013The Alumni Show, Wesleyan University, Zilkha Gallery, Middletown, CT
  • 2013Collectively Assembled, Arts@Renaissance, Brooklyn, NY
  • 2012Elsie Kagan and Lori Ellison, Soapbox Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
  • 2012Elsie Kagan and Danielle Mysliewiec, 56 Bogart, Brooklyn, NY
  • 2011NurtureArt Benefit, Chelsea Art Museum
  • 2011tART year 8, Arts@Renaissance
  • 2010Brenda Taylor Gallery, Verge Miami, Miami, FL
  • 2009Brenda Taylor Gallery, Verge Miami
  • 2015Promise Award Grant, Sustainable Arts Foundation
  • 2013Fellowship and Stipend, Sustainable Arts Foundation
  • 2015Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT
  • 2013Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT
  • 2003Chautauqua School of Art, Chautauqua Lake, NY
98 4th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11215
I am always happy to host visits to my studio! Please contact me to set up an appointment