Ellen Birkenblit was born in New Jersey and studied painting at Cooper Union, graduating in 1980. The artist is known for her abstracted paintings that reference the aesthetics of hastily-drawn cartoon panels. Her paintings often include partial or suggested figures and a strong sense of fragmented narrative.
Berkenblit’s studio space is dense – packed with materials on top of and underneath tables, artworks both finished, and in-progress stacked up against the walls, and other pieces that might be sketches or mock-ups placed further back in the photo. It looks like the floor is splashed with colored paint – a mark of a busy, active artist’s studio.
At the very back of the photo it looks like the artist has a drying rack covered with clear plastic sheets – the rack is stuffed full of paintings of all sizes, so I would guess that the plastic is there to keep the paintings from getting accidentally splashed with paint while the artist is at work. A clever way to utilize a smaller art space.
It’s fun to see how many brushes Birkenblit has on the table as well – the canister to the left side of the image holds so many brushes that it looks like a bizarre bouquet of flowers. It’s always nice to have options when you need to figure out exactly how to make a mark, and Birkenblit’s painting style seems to necessitate a wide variety of different styles of mark-making.
Birkenblit was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2014, and recently had a solo show at New York’s Anton Kern Gallery. The artist’s works are in private collections as well as the collection of the Brooklyn museum.