The Artist-Scavenger Who Turns Scraps of Tin Into Evocative Collages
Using a multitude of colorful tin scraps, sheets of plywood, metal sheers, a hammer, and thousands of tiny brads (thin nails), Tony Berlant crafts intricately detailed, riotously colorful collages, reflective of the joy he takes in his laborious, piecemeal process. “A lot of what I like about it is . . . the physical labor and activity,” he says. Berlant’s collages range from small to panoramic, representational to abstract, logical to surreal; he has pieced together a multitude of landscape vistas, close-ups of lush flowers, and disjointed, dreamlike scenes. The individual pieces of tin look like thick, varied brushstrokes, causing his works to resemble paintings and imparting a kinetic, roiling energy that activates his imagery and pulls the eye continuously across the picture plane.
American, b. 1941, New York, New York, based in Santa Monica, California