Elizabeth Berdann | Press
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Press

“The traces of her fantastically accomplished brush and the intimate strength of her vision can be easily appreciated according to standards set in most art survey classes. But Berdann undermines rote seeing through a harnessed cinematic energy, as the eye moves from portrait to portrait, moment to moment, confronted with the flow of time through the sometimes graphically troubling phases of human life.”

— David A.M. Goldberg, Honolulu Advertiser

 


 

“Wickedly simple…It’s hard to tell whether [the paintings of ’10 of My Best Facial Features’] add up to a beauty or a beast”

— Peter Plagens, Newsweek

 


 

“…she is a little odd”

— Eleanor Gustafson, The Magazine Antiques

 


 

“Eschewing the grandiose seductions of large-scale, heroic painting, Elizabeth Berdann opts for the magnificently intimate miniature, a demure format conventionally used for bourgeois portraiture. Forget the staid, noble image of a loved one: Berdann squeezes Gericault’s severed limbs into the minuscule parameters of jewels, rendering not posed busts but fragments of bodies in a meticulously detailed, realist style…”

— Amelia Jones, Art Issues

 


 

“A standout”

— Kenneth Baker, San Francisco Chronicle

 


 

“‘The Wall of Tongues’ shows the…subjects…looking a little like breaching humpbacks. Set against sky blue backgrounds, the larger-than-life tongues are disembodied emblems of sexual enticement and, mouthless, are incapable of forming words. They can only flap helplessly.”

— Esther Grisham, Dialogue

 


 

“It is harder than hell to look away, yet it is a little embarrassing to look”.

— Tamira Spelling, Art+Performance

 


 

“[Berdann’s] gorgeous, visually witty paintings – which placed her fetishized features among El Greco-esque clouds – seduced viewers into looking closer to find their own self-loathing and self-fascination within the images”. ‘

— Elisabeth Condon, New Art Examiner

 


 

“Seductively smart, excruciatingly clever”

— Village Voice

 


 

“Poignant”

— Holland Cotter, New York Times

 


 

“Elizabeth Berdann’s fetishistic assemblages steal the show… They have something of the fussy preciousness of a teenage girl’s charm bracelet. Yet the elevated tone of these trinkets is undermined by evidence of the crass reality of adolescent anxiety and narcissism…. Sugarcoating her ironic comments on contemporary life with a veneer of Victorian sentimentality, Berdann faces the pettiness and selfishness of adulthood squarely and with a lively sense of humor. As we laugh at her pretensions, we also laugh at our own.”

— Eleanor Heartney, Art in America

 


 

“Gross? Tacky? Beyond the bounds of taste? You bet.”

— Grace Glueck, New York Observer

 


 

“Elizabeth Berdann…may paint beautifully observed images of faces and body parts on her tiny canvases, but the fact that she then contextualizes them in heart-shaped boxes or copper mirrors sets her apart from straightforward figurists.”

Andrea Coddington, Art & Auction

 


 

“[Berdann] manipulates, even seduces the viewer into her world by the often infinitesimal scale and technical virtuosity of her works…. At the same time, her work is never merely about verisimilitude, but rather the transformation from what is seen to what needs to be revealed. Instead of ignoring society’s prescription of… beauty, Berdann self-consciously elaborates on it, isolating and magnifying aspects of it until they either lose their aura or become absurd, divesting them of their power. …Subversive humor functions here: Berdann makes fun of such societal norms as physical competition by laying them bare, neutralizing the enemy’s strategies for defeat and turning them into her own vehicles for success.”

— Mary Murphy, New Art Examiner

 


 

“Technically on par with Ivan Albright…One can lose oneself in the folds of flesh and the emotion [Berdann’s paintings] convey. Berdann’s other paintings are equally luscious”

— Ellison Austen Walcott, Review

 


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