Sistergarden: Ellen Berkenblit's Faces Fill Anton Kern Gallery with Palpable Energy
We feel like we have been following Ellen Berkenblit around a bit over the past few months. She took part in our Juxtapoz at 25: In Black & White showcase curated by editor Evan Pricco in Miami, and we saw her paintings at both Jeffrey Deitch and Felix Art Fair this past weekend in Los Angeles. (We also featured her in our print edition in Summer 2019.) Now, she is back in NYC, about to open a new solo show, Sistergarden, featuring 11 large paintings in Anton Kern's mainspace. The show will be on view through March 28, 2020.
When our deputy editor, Kristin Farr, asked about Berkenblit's work in the studio this past summer, she told us, "It feels like a dance. I hate saying it, but it does. It feels athletic, which sounds less romantic and more true to what I mean. I feel like it's an athletic activity for me to paint, not for everyone. The physical movements of what I'm doing, whether it's getting up and down a ladder, or stretching my arm or leg to reach something, it informs the work, and in that way, it's very athletic, and I'm a very physical person when I'm making the work, and in general."
This movement fits into what the gallery says of Sistergarden, where "Each face emerges from a velvety abyss with unbridled intensity and a noticeable shift in palette. The artist’s signature electric colors now merge with earth tones and twilight blues. This otherworldly color language, coupled with formal choices in cropping, creates a subplot of intrigue. Berkenblit’s compositions intentionally exclude narrative attributes, allowing the viewer to focus on the emotional qualities of paint application, brushstroke, and shape."
Former Juxtaoz cover artist, Nicole Eisenman, will be showing on Anton Kern's Third Floor space as well as a series of Andy Warhol drawings on the Second Floor gallery, coinciding with Berkenblit's solo show