Ellen Berkenblit, 2013
|Born||Paterson, New Jersey, New Jersey|
|Awards||John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow|
Ellen Berkenblit (b. 1958, Paterson, New Jersey) is an American contemporary visual artist, whose work has been shown at many museums and art galleries across the country since the 1980s. She and lives and works in New York City, and is best known for her feminine–pop-style paintings. Berkenblit is represented by Anton Kern Gallery in New York.
Early life and education
Berkenblit grew up in Westchester County, NY one of four children. Her father was a research chemist at IBM and an amateur photographer who used a half-bath as a darkroom. Her mother was a school teacher She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Cooper Union in 1980. Berkenblit is married to American film producer Joshua Astrachan.
Berkenblit's works typically begin with a female subject in a distinctive character profile—one that she has been drawing since her childhood—and contain slashing streaks of parrotlike color and radiating lines of hair. Berkenblit creates paintings with a palette of vigorously mixed colors with assertive broad brushstrokes and some scraping of the palette knife. Her shapes are rough yet well-defined fields of color; occasional black outlines can define an object, animal, or a face. Her work includes themes specific themes, motifs, and ideas: a head in profile featuring intense black lashes and long shimmering hair, lacy ribbons (painted as angular and bands of paint that pull together the paintingsʼ fore- and middle-grounds). Also included are atmospheric motifs such as clouds, bolts of sun light, rainbows, and starry night skies.
Berkenblit's work has for years included illustrations of female characters, drawn in the stylistic equivalent of the Palmer Method, appearing shy and credulous, maybe slightly saucy, and somewhat old-fashioned in the manner of Snow White and Betty Boop. They appear most often (but not always) alone, occasionally with domesticated animals, among half-rendered objects and unfinished forms.
Exhibitions and Collections
Berkenblit presented her first solo exhibition in 1984. Since then her work has been presented in many solo shows at galleries in Paris, Vienna, Amsterdam, Brussels, Rome and throughout the United States, Ellen Berkenblit’s work has been included in exhibitions at the Farnsworth Art Museum (2011), Artist Space, New York (2009), the New York Academy of Art (2008), the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati (2007), the Tucson Museum of Art (2005), and the New Museum of Contemporary Art, NY (2004).
Berkenblit's paintings are included in numerous public collections, including, amongst others, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Farnsworth Art Museum, Rockland, ME; Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY; Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, OH; and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA. Her work has been reviewed in the New York Times.
- "Frieze Magazine - Archive - Ellen Berkenblit". www.frieze.com. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
- "Brooklyn Museum: Ellen Berkenblit". www.brooklynmuseum.org. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
- Nicksin, Carole (September–October 2010). "Ellen Berkenblit". Artillery Magazine 5 (1): 48.
- Gratza, Agnieszka. "Ellen Berkenblit". Frieze Art Magazine. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
- Asfour, Nana. "ELLEN BERKENBLIT". Art in America. Retrieved 18 May 2012.
- Dunham, Carroll (2014). Ellen Berkenblit: Paintings 2011-2014. New York: Anton Kern Gallery. ISBN 978-0-9833622-8-9.
- Guggenheim Fellows:Ellen Berkenblit
- American Academy of Arts and Letters
- "Doing the Loop-de-Loop: The latest surprise from Ellen Berkenblit / artcritical". Retrieved 29 September 2014.
- Smith, Roberta (14 July 2000). "ART IN REVIEW; Ellen Berkenblit". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 29 September 2014.