Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects is pleased to announce our first solo exhibition with New York painter, Ellen Berkenblit. The exhibition includes new paintings and works on paper.
Berkenblit’s paintings are vibrant celebrations of color – neon greens, pinks, blues, and oranges are cut and shaped with an array of blacks that reveal the artist’s dedication to mixing her own colors as she works. The paintings feature an alluring long-nosed female figure, sometimes replaced or accompanied by a cartoonish tiger, moving across the canvas in profile in manifold variations. The girl has the lithe and suggestive figure of a fashion illustration. The tiger, whose flatness is even more pronounced, appears at times like a composition of cut pieces of orange and black paper. The repetition of these characters across Berkenblit’s canvases suggests the progression of a composition – both narrative and formal – within and beyond each individual painting.
Berkenblit's practice complicates the polarity between representation and abstraction. Through her capricious application of paint and calligraphic line, she creates a wickedly comical atmosphere where cartoonish representation and serious abstraction fuse and overlap. Underneath their sweetness, the lady and the tiger reveal a powerful painterly language, a language that knows much more than what its whimsical characters might suggest.
Ellen Berkenblit (b.1958) lives and works in New York and has been presented in solo exhibitions since 1984. In 2014 she was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship. Her work is in several prominent public collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn; and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Berkenblit’s most recent group exhibitions include “Other Planes of There” at Corbett vs. Dempsey, Chicago; “BODY/IMAGE” at Susan Inglett Gallery, New York; “Eid Ma Clack Shaw,” organized by Abby Messitte at LABSpace, Great Barrington, MA; “Ellen Berkenblit, Lee Maida, Tracy Miller” at Derek Eller, New York; “SELF: Portraits of Artists in their Absence” curated by Filippo Fossato, National Academy Museum & School, New York; and “Ellen Berkenblit, Steve DiBenedetto, Philip Hanson, Barry Le Va, Albert Oehlen, Alexander Ross, Rebecca Shore” at David Nolan Gallery, New York. She is represented by Anton Kern Gallery in New York.