Landscape artist Tony Berlant, who creates a textured and layered effect in his work by collaging pieces of fabricated printed tin onto plywood with steel brads, is bringing a new exhibit of his works to Venice.
“Hidden in Plain Sight” will open with a reception at 4 p.m. Saturday, March 31st, at L.A. Louver, 45 Venice Blvd., Venice. The exhibit will remain on view until Saturday, May 5th. Admission is free.
The pieces in the new exhibit are intended to evoke the complexity and mystery of the desert landscape as it exists just outside of Los Angeles, and in recent years, the desert landscape has become the primary source of inspiration for Berlant’s art, according to L.A. Louver.
The title of the exhibit, “Hidden in Plain Sight,” alludes to both the desert subject matter as to the materials and medium used by the artist.
The exhibition includes formal landscapes such as A Perfect Moment (2007) and Bounce Back (2007), along with abstract compositions such as Wherever (2006) and Up From Down (2006), in which the subject is undetermined. Following the tradition of 19th century landscape artists Courbet and Monet, Berlant’s abstractions acknowledge landscape as a metaphor for the unconscious. Berlant describes his more abstract, psychological pieces as “mindscapes.”
Regardless of whether the subject in each piece is obscured or conveyed, Berlant seeks to create a multi-layered effect to the imagery. He takes existing images and reinterprets them into new compositions. For example, he might take a piece of tin on which an aerial view of Catalina, or a woman’s hand is imprinted, cut it into an irregular form and affix it to a panel in order to convey part of the desert floor, according to L.A. Louver.
As a result of this process, pieces of tin that at first seem to be pure color sometimes contain bits of hidden images from their previous incarnations. Like the desert itself, where whole ecosystems are at work but may be unnoticed, these compositions conjure worlds that are obscured but reveal themselves to those who are open to seeing them.
Although Berlant has used tin to make his art for more than four decades now, his recent works demonstrate an infusion of the metal pieces to the point that the works resemble paintings more than collages, according to L.A. Louver.
Berlant was born in 1941 in New York and moved to Los Angeles when he was a young child. He received a Master of Fine Arts at UCLA and went on to teach in the university’s art department.
He received early recognition in 1960, when Clement Greenberg selected one of his paintings for inclusion in an exhibition of Los Angeles-area artists at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. In 1964, the same museum awarded Berlant the New Talent Purchase Grant, and he has since exhibited at galleries and museums throughout the United States. In 2006 the artist’s work was included in the exhibition “Los Angeles-Paris” at the Centre Pompidou, Paris, France.
Berlant is represented in many private and public collections, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.
Berlant’s public commissons include Fox Network Center, Los Angeles; San Francisco Airport; the Minneapolis Institute of Art; the Mayo Clinic; and Target Corporation, Minneapolis.
GWYNN MURRILL — Running concurrently at L.A. Louver with Berlant’s exhibit will be “From Classical to Baroque,” a show of recent sculptures by Gwynn Murrill.
For nearly 40 years, animals have been the subject of Murrill’s sculptures. Cats, dogs, birds and wildlife are depicted in bronze, marble and koa wood sculptures.
Some of the works, such as Big Sitting Cat (2004), have no surface detail, while others, such as Elmo (2005), convey the texture and pattern of the dog’s coat through relief.
Murrill was born in Ann Arbor, but has lived, worked and exhibited in Los Angeles for the past 30 years. Her work has made it into the collections of museums in a number of states, as well as overseas in the Sezon Museum of Art in Tokyo.
Information, (310) 822-4955.