The Clock Unlocked is the first exhibition to encompass works from over four decades of New York painter Ellen Berkenblit’s practice. Hung salon style, arranged instinctually and without chronology, this unbound diary of paintings and drawings reveals the artist’s idiosyncratic ‘alphabet’— the core of her visual language.
Images appear and re-submerge: a witch, a tiger, a shoe, a truck, all reveal themselves as a collection of curves, strokes, and slashes. One recognizes a gesture, and in it a notion of how the physical sensations and muscular reactions of the arm, the hand and the wrist all drive Berkenblit’s mark-making. The viewer becomes privy to an intimate calligraphy that is the result of the dance between artist, material, and surface.
Spanning an entire wall is Sunshine, the artist’s largest canvas to date. Measuring over 16 feet in length, the composition features a leopard prowling alongside a traffic-jammed street. In its surfaces, worked and reworked, we see a collection of rhythms sketched out in a familiar hand. Loop-de-loops of exhaust fumes mimic the cursive ‘e-l-l-e’ in the artist’s name while dashed lines become lane markers. As we trace Berkenblit’s line, we are given a look into her memory; remembering, remembering again, and in the final composition, a perfect sense of order is restored and preserved.
The Clock Unlocked is presented in conjunction with Ellen Berkenblit’s new monograph, Lines.
ABOUT ANTON KERN GALLERY
On April 22, 2017, Anton Kern Gallery officially opened its doors at 16 East 55th Street. Designed by studioMDA, the six-story townhouse features three floors of exhibition space, with permanent installations by Martino Gamper and Jim Lambie.