Standing in Ellen Berkenblit’s studio, I had one of those moments of trippy intensity where the veil is ripped away. We were surrounded by the friendly chaos of her paintings, and we were talking about the concept of “knowing.” Ellen turned to me and said, “But all of life is a Freudian slip, because how could you ever know what you are doing?” We looked at each other and laughed out loud, as though we had simultaneously inhaled a drug, suddenly feeling how absurd, how fraught and ridiculous “knowing” is. Berkenblit’s paintings offer many such eccentric moments of release, of delirium, of knowing not-knowing. Her work vibrates with epistemological tension.
—Amy Sillman, BOMB 99, 2007, art is Ellen Berkenblit’s Digging the Subway Tunnel, 2006