Anna Berlin

Astronauts float out into the universe and heavens, golden frames shimmer, and glittery skies fill my imagined painted worlds. They are sourced from geographical and celestial maps as well as Americana imagery.  Repeated characters and repeated worlds function as a form of note taking - a way to take down information and process things around me. As an outcome they are diaristic; symbols and characters developed through my own biography. Miniature scenes and figures shift from charming and cartoon-like to sinister and irreverent. Elements include sticker clouds and stars, astronauts dying or becoming evil, devils losing and regaining power from astronauts, and my dog Bailey (RIP) attaining God-like status. Ideas come from grappling with the news, environmental issues, feminism, and personal relationships.

I think of the moon and outer space as American Landscapes. The moon because it has an American Flag dug into its surface. Outer space for the desire of American companies, like SpaceX, to build on planets and alter the night sky with satellites. Has outer space become the new American frontier? If we do build on other planets who will have the right of access? The characters in my paintings often look longingly back at Earth, hopefully up into the space above, or purposefully outside the painting's edge to the white wall beside it.

My name often appears boldly written on the surface of my paintings. I’m interested in Anna because of its formal qualities. It’s a palindrome and has only two simple letters and shapes. Berlin is a location - a cool city filled with artists, underground clubs and bars, but also one where my German Jewish family has a complicated history. My name can be seen as a vanitas, an ultimate arrangement of shapes that talk about life and death, but for me it’s a desire to claim ownership and space within the painted object and beyond it.