Ellen Berkenblit’s paintings feature deep, wild palettes, and create a fantastical world of their own. As fellow painter Amy Sillman once described, “background vaporizes into foreground. Center spills against outline; inside destabilizes outside; past folds into future.”
About Ellen Berkenblit
For more than 30 years, Ellen Berkenblit has been exploring line in her large-scale, exuberant paintings, combining an Abstract Expressionistic style with comic strip characters of her own invention. Though the recurring figure of a young girl and her animal consorts suggest narratives, Berkenblit sees these figures as collections of lines, devices that organize and drive her overall composition. As she explains: “The figures I choose have one purpose: they carry the line that I wish to draw. The figures are not symbolic; they don't represent anyone or anything in particular. They are the perfect excuse to get the first line going.” In Tigers vs Witches (2013), the profiles of a tiger and a witch face each other across the canvas. Their kinetic lines lead the eye to the deftly composed abstract shapes and colors filling and animating the work.
American, b. 1958, Paterson, New Jersey, based in New York, New York