Studio Sunday: Ellen Birkenblit

A photograph of Ellen Birkenblit's art studio


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.

[image source]

Written by: Dallas Jeffs
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