Anton Kern

Ellen Berkenblit

17 Jan - 23 Feb 2008

© Installation View

Berkenblit’s third one-person exhibition at Anton Kern Gallery presents a body of black-and-white paintings with the recurring image of a girl in profile. Berkenblit uses this figure as a formal anchoring or starting point to build up densely layered paintings in a wide range of black, white and grey tones. “This girl is the incarnation of seeing and feeling, with big saucer eyes, and fat hands that hang in front of her like fleshy tools poised to grasp. She too is tense with a cluster of affect: anxiety, amusement, desire, shame, wonder. Her mouth is an astonished O and her eyebrows are tilted in uncertainty. She sees and feels something off the edge that is not pictured, perhaps something unsayable; you sense the proximity of trauma or spooks. Her characters exist within an embrace of off-register painting gestures: blotches, patches, scumbles, wipe-outs. Positive and negative spaces interlap. Colors puff up, then go slack. Shapes spill inside other shapes and obscure them. Background vaporizes into foreground. Center spills against outline; inside destabilizes outside; past folds into future.” (Amy Sillman)

Tags: Ellen Berkenblit, Amy Sillman