Tony Berlant:
New Works 
September 15 —
October 22, 2011


Tony Berlant

Berlant is renowned for his brilliantly colored metal collages on panel, which range from literal landscapes to pure abstractions. This new work turns toward the mystical, drawing on Eastern spiritual influences to create complex, transcendental compositions.

Included in the exhibition are tall, vertical panels featuring a mysterious goddess figure that appears and disappears throughout the work. This goddess image appeared to Berlant when he photographed a section of the plywood floor in his studio and digitally altered the image to create a Rorschach effect. Berlant uses this manipulated image as a ground for several works, with varying amounts of overlaying collage in symmetrical compositions that seem to reference Eastern religious image and pattern, such as found in Tibetan thangkas.

In other works, Berlant uses photographic imagery as a ground for abstract collages that reference landscapes and provide hints of figurative elements within heavily disrupted picture planes. Contrast between the sharply defined metal elements in the foreground and blurred background images give the compositions a great sense of depth and dimensionality.

Originally from New York, Berlant received his M.F.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1963. Berlant has been recognized and exhibited widely both nationally and internationally. His work can be found in numerous public and private collection, including the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Oakland Museum of California; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Phoenix Art Museum; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut.

Berlant has also created important site-specific public commissions. A notable example, Dancing on the Brink of the World, 1987, is installed at San Francisco International Airport. Berlant created a phenomenal work, Fox, 1997, measuring 36 feet high, commissioned by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Los Angeles. Additional public commissions include the Junipero Serra State Office Building, Los Angeles, 1999; U.S. Federal Building and Courthouse, Sacramento, 1996; Reagan National Airport, Arlington, Virginia, 1994; and Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 1989-91.