Lennon, Weinberg, Inc.
Tony Berlant has recently completed a monumental work which was commissioned by the Target Corporation. We are pleased to announce that this ten by sixty foot work will be exhibited at the gallery prior to its permanent installation at Target’s headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Target offered Tony Berlant extraordinary freedom to conceive this major work without prior agreement on a finished drawing or maquette.
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The work is an enormous collage of metal on wood. Patterns and printed images appear on the surface of thousands of cut and shaped pieces of tin attached to twenty wood panels with steel brads. The work depicts a panoramic landscape of trees, lakes and hillsides in transition from spring to summer, fall to winter. It describes this world in pulsing, scintillating color and moves from day to an explosively energized, almost otherworldly, nightscape. This world vibrates with life. "What You See Is Who You Are," the title of the work, suggests that this world revealed is as alive as we are and that we are one with this landscape. In this panorama, as in much of Berlant’s recent work, the interplay between image and illusion leads toward a subjective perception of the myriad details of which the picture is composed. The visual information on the collaged fragments shifts in and out of its descriptive function and yields images which flicker in the mind like a Rorschach blot.
Berlant describes several experiences and artworks as having influenced this work. He reflected upon his own first-hand experience of the Minnesota landscape of woods and water. He is interested in the scroll tradition of Chinese landscape painting in which the viewer travels visually through the artist’s conception, which is presented in a long horizontal format. The summer before he began this work he spent a week in Bruges, Belgium and each day he paid a visit to a painting by Hieronymous Bosch. The painting is a triptych of earth, heaven and hell, and Berlant recalls "The more you looked, the more you saw, you could never take it all in at once." Berlant hoped to achieve a similar density of visual experience in this large work and the result speaks for itself. He has created a work which resounds with the spectacular immediacy of a fireworks display in the night sky.
This large work will wrap around the walls of our main gallery and the viewer will experience it as an environment. Five smaller works will also be on view. "Divina Muse," "Trail’s End" and "From Afar" describe desert landscapes in which individual pieces of metal function like brush marks, each describing a plane or a shape. In another work titled "Savannah," Berlant merges the images of a tabby cat with the faceted surface of a lichen-covered rock on which it is curled up asleep. Ornans is less pictorial, but shares with the rest of the works a balance between the abstract and representational which is a hallmark of Berlant’s recent work.
Tony Berlant is closely identified with this material and method of cut metal collage on wood. His artworks are complex, evocative and intense. They are shaped by his abiding curiosity and years of study of art and artifacts from many cultures through history. And they are equally informed by an awareness of the currents of recent and contemporary art.
Tony Belant was born in New York City in 1941, and presently lives and works in Santa Monica, California.
Berlant has completed commissions for Ronald Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C, (1994), U. S. Federal Building and Courthouse, Sacramento, California (1996), Fox Network Center, Los Angeles, California (1997), Wilshire Boulevard Temple, Los Angeles (1998), the Junipero Serra State Office Building, Los Angeles (1999), and the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota (2000). Earlier commissions include works at the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts and the San Francisco International Airport.
He has exhibited regularly in galleries in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco during the past four decades. Works by Tony Berlant are included in many museum collections, including the Art Institute of Chicago, The Forth Worth Museum of Art, the Hirshhorn Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Philadelphia Museum, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Please contact the gallery for additional information.