Ellen Brooks began her studies in sculpture and photography at the University of Wisconsin in Madison but completed her BA at the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1968. Brooks also earned her MA in 1970 and her MFA in 1971 from the same school.
Her first solo exhibition took place at the University of Nevada Art Gallery in Las Vegas in 1976. Her teaching experience includes the San Francisco Art Institute from 1973 to 1982 and the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University since 1984.
Brooks creates large impressionistic color photographs. Using commercial images from books, magazines, and other sources, she uses acrylics to paint the images and then rephotographs them through a diffusion screen, which results in mysterious, almost unreadable images that appear as points of colored light against a black background. Brooks lives in New York City.
National Museum of American Art (CD-ROM) (New York and Washington D.C.: MacMillan Digital in cooperation with the National Museum of American Art, 1996)