This Sunday, let’s take a look inside the art studio of Tony Berlant. Berlant was born in New York City and studied at the University of California. The artist now lives and works in Santa Monica, California, where he creates mixed media artworks using a wide range of materials for a complex, collage-like visual effect.
The artist’s particular style of working is quite visible in this studio photo. The space looks like a fairly run-of-the-mill painting studio until one takes a closer look and discovers that the artist is using what appears to be a small pickaxe to help him create the work on his table. The artwork stretched out ahead of Berlant is layered, with three-dimensional forms that stick up out of the surface like sculpture mockups.
The large two-dimensional piece behind Berlant, as well, looks as though it could be a part of the wall itself. Geometric patterns overlaid with floral forms create an aesthetic that seems ahead of its time, for when the photograph was taken. I’m curious about the forms on the shelf in the deep background of this image -- they look sculptural, almost like vases or other vessels, perhaps ceramic. Or, maybe they are pieces waiting to be affixed to a fresh artwork.
Berlant is known not only for his collage-like works, but also for sculptures. In particular, the artist uses metal as a media -- though unlike the monolithic steel structures of artists like Richard Serra, Berlant produces collaged pieces using tin, most recently tin of his own manufacture. It would be interesting to get to see the part of the studio, or the external space where this process is carried out!