John Berry

Artist Interview
July 9, 2016
John Berry

Modern West Fine Art is thrilled to feature Duality by John Berry for our July exhibition. Berry's work combines an incredible tension and incorporates a new direction. His bold colors and shapes reference the landscapes he has painted in the past with a dynamic new body of abstract work. We took a moment to ask Berry what inspired him and how his process is evolving...

Compared to your previous works, Duality, has taken a more abstract approach to your Western Landscape. What was the inspiration for the change?

The initial change had no inspiration. It was one of necessity. I felt I had reached a point in my career/work where I could go no further with what I had been doing. I had felt this coming for some time, but didn't know where it would lead or how to even start that dialogue. The Western Landscape was not even on my mind at this point.

I began by revamping the method in which I worked and the tools I used. I even changed the type of music I listened to in the studio. It was a period of great experimentation. It was exciting. I think this fueled me, this unknown path was the impetus for my continued searching. It was akin to standing on the edge of a drop off, not being able to see what is below or ahead, and then just stepping off.

Throughout your work there is a sense of tension, that is enhanced by complimentary textures and colors, could you speak to your process that helped achieve these results? 

Once I found myself on this new path, I revisited past ideas I had wanted to incorporate in my work. One that resonated with me was duality or opposition. To put it simply, I believe all things are a dual being. This intrigues me. Through the medium of paint I wanted to explore this idea. Let the paintings, by the marks and they way they were painted, tell that story:  Line versus Shape. Thick versus Thin. Rough versus Smooth etc. In the actual creation of the work I found this idea spilled over as well. Periods of expressive painting abandon contrasting against periods of slow contemplation. It was very exciting to be a part of this, to see it unfold.

 At first, I did not see a correlation. I thought this was a completely new undertaking, which in it's own right it was. It was not until I had completed the whole body of work that an artist friend from NY pointed out to me, that he could see and feel the Western landscape incorporated into this new body of work. At first this took me aback. Then as I pondered on this, I realized this was all part of the duality I was trying to capture. It amazed me.

There is this part of me, even though I did not think about or consciously address, that found it's way into my work. Even though this is a body of non-objective work, it still captured the ideas and matter, that is a part of me. That duality has a tendency to blow my mind if I think about it too much. 

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