The artist found her calling in her early forties when she moved from New York City to the rural Southern Tier surrounded by dense woodlands, stone walls, abandoned apple orchards and a diversity of wildlife. After years of living, working and commuting in Brooklyn and Manhattan at various non-profits and corporations, including outpatient mental health centers and the Brooklyn Hospital Center’s NICU, her dream was to move to the country. It was the solitude and quiet that first allowed her to paint in a small upstairs bedroom of a little farmhouse at the top of a winding, dead-end dirt road. Living in the woods she had found her utopia.
Eleni Smolen is deeply connected to and concerned about the natural world. She ascribes to Edward Wilson’s concept of “biophilia,” the word he coined to describe humankind’s deep affinity for nature. The artist believes nature is, as Wilson describes it, “the refuge of the spirit, remote, static, richer even than imagination.”

The artist responds emotionally and viscerally to events – personal, environmental, societal – and works through each experience through multiple riffs and variations. Series over the years include the early, abstract paintings Biophilia, Dharma Rain and Persistent Song; the horse motif in Ridgeline and Wherever I Travel; the memorialized girl holding the bird in Girl by the Sea and Guardian; drawings inspired by the film The Turin Horse; Surfacing; Trees; Whales & Flukes; and, currently, Little Consolation. Three Illuminated Installations of Girl by the Sea drawings and two Boxes of Flukes paintings round out the work so far.

Smolen lives in Beacon, New York and works in Newburgh at Regal Bag Studios.