Maria Kozak

War Hawk | Peace Dove

In Residence: March 18 – May 10, 2013
Exhibition: opens May 9; continues through May 31, 2013
Learning Lab: Colfax Community Network

“For centuries birds have fascinated man, perhaps for their ability to fly and thus proximity to the supernatural. We have cast them as symbols of war, peace, vanity, courage, independence, wisdom, strength, greed, and harbingers of doom. When I observe birds I see all of these traits manifested within their own societies. Their behaviors parallel ours and vice versa. To me birds are as complex and contradictory as we are.”  —Maria Kozak

Maria Kozak spent her childhood in Colorado, but the past 10 years in Brooklyn, NY, where she is a painter interested in the relationship between man and nature. She explains, “Desmond Morris maintained that observing animals in captivity would help us understand being trapped in our own consumerist lives.” Her paintings connect her with her primal self where instinct determines the way. Each brushstroke is an attempt to embody the creature being painted–to capture the lust, violence and frenetic energy rampant in the animal kingdom.

In paintings created while in residence, she continues to examine birds and animals that personify the behavior and traits of humans. While in Denver, Maria had access to the Rocky Mountain Wildlife Conservation Center, also known as the Wild Animal Sanctuary, in Kennesburg, Colorado, as well as the zoology collections at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science (DMNS). Up-close experiences, such as her visit to the Wild Animal Sanctuary with her residency youth partners from the Colfax Community Network and her visits to the DMNS collections, are unique opportunities not available to her in Brooklyn, NY, where she lives. Inspired by the “red-meat feeding frenzy of seagulls in snow” at the Sanctuary during her first week in Colorado, she created “The Feeding,” a large painting that explodes with life–noisy, messy and brutal–as the gulls scavenge over their find.

Maria earned a master’s degree in fine art at the New York Academy of Art in New York and bachelor’s degree from Colorado State University. Her work has been exhibited in New York, Florida, St. Barthelemy, and Iceland. Maria is a founder of Foolsgold Arts, where she curates exhibitions that benefit various environmental protection and animal welfare organizations.

In Learning Labs with Colfax Community Network youth, she will focus on teaching animal anatomy, habitats and our relationship to them. Learn more about Maria at her website.

PlatteForum Volunteers
Samantha Hyde, AmeriCorps, Lindy Hargrave, Rebecah Ziegler, Anita Rodriguez-Harman, Ryan Gilmartin, Chris Nelson, Chloé Jarisch

CCN Volunteers
Eric Benson, Lindsay Anderson, Alisondra Stephenson, Kendal McMaster, Connor McMaster, Grace Adams, Justine Ahle, Kathryn Roman, James Roman, Tami Jones, Kayla Swenson

Special thanks to:
Larry & Susan Writer-Hamil, Jeff Stephenson + John Demboski, Denver Museum of Nature & Science, Sippin n’ Painting, McLoughlin‘s Restaurant and Bar, Whole Foods Market-Cherry Creek, Stacey + Winston Schultz, Terry Cohen, Jon Cox, Saira Apadoca, Cindy Haner, Lindsay Jordheim, HDNET Movies