John Berry: Summer Show
21 July—25 August 2018
Man-made environments and landscapes, gardens and parks, and industrial architecture: John Berry's paintings are richly coloured, radiating an almost physical presence into space and displaying an abstract style that repeatedly makes use of the figurative. With clear contours and strong colour contrasts, the pictorial elements stand out from the background or wrestle with each other. Rocks and other forms stand monolithically next to each other, plants or flies push themselves as oversized pixels in between. Action and coincidence, will and structure form situations that are difficult to resolve.
In his artistic work, John Berry is equally concerned with formal, aesthetic and thematic issues. Berry's art takes up the aesthetics of various influences, such as those of Modernism, and at the same time orients itself towards the two-dimensional pictorial logic of the Middle Ages, right up to the cartoons and video game graphics of the 1980s and 1990s.
Berry's pictures, which offer different perspectives and focus on set pieces, are allegories of situations between order and lively obstinacy. They are settings that appear to be contradictory and at the same time inseparable. Sometimes they are rock-like structures that stand almost obstinately in the room and thus create new facts in the room. In other pictures we experience a direct top view and see the representation of winding and proliferating natural formations of a park.
Conceptually, Berry's current works deal with spaces that depict orders and constitute them, especially the grid structure of modern factories, which are now lofts, co-working spaces, studios and offices, but also allotment gardens and parks. Despite almost identical, disciplining forms and appearances, one thinks here also of the canvas itself, no garden is like the next. The environments set the space and structure for creativity, for transgression and dislocation.
With the canvas, too, the conditions seem clear; nevertheless, the image carrier is not the only one that sets the scene, but ultimately is above all experiential and sustaining. The surface becomes a resonating space for the painterly process and its events, as well as for Berry's observations of social structures and working environments or his reflections on culture and history.
John Berry *1981 in Providence, Rhode Island, US, | works and live in Greencastle, Indiana, US | since 2013 Assistant professor of painting and drawing, DePauw University, Greencastle, IN, US | 2013 Curatorial projects in Bloomington, IN, US | 2010-2013, Part-time assistant professor of painting and drawing, DePauw University, Greencastle, IN, US | 2009 Master of Fine Arts in painting, Indiana University, IN, US | 2004 Bachelor of Fine Arts in illustration, Rhode Island School of Design, RI, US | numerous exhibitions in America, exhibitions in China and Germany