Untitled (Verifax Collage)
On View at the Getty Center: Pacific Standard Time: Crosscurrents in L.A. Painting and Sculpture, 1950-1970
In 1963, Berman began to make works using a Verifax machine— a predecessor of the photocopier—that had been given to him by artist and gallery owner William Jahrmarkt. Berman first collaged a range of photographs and found images culled from magazines before running them through the machine and pasting them onto a board backing. Comprising 56 images, this is one of the largest of Berman’s Verifax grids. The upper three rows include an eclectic mix of iconography– from a Gothic cathedral spire and a Hindu statue, to footballers and an astronaut–presented inside the repeated frame of a hand-held Sony transistor, an image that Berman had cut from a magazine advertisement. The row of repeated spiral galaxies and the 28 close-up images of billowing smoke clouds that comprise the lower half of the image, complement the upper section and create a sense of dynamic tension between cosmic creation and earthly destruction.