Kardon writes: "Berryhill is not ambivalent about his ambition... Though modest in scale, the paintings use expensive, thick-weave linen, a high culture archival maneuver that serves to offset some of the low culture references, and telegraphs his seriousness. Berryhill nods to not only Goya, but Picasso, Matisse and Bonnard, as well as his contemporaries, such as Dana Schutz. He places himself in an early modernist painting tradition that, despite an apparently abstract affect, is always representational in its ultimate methods. The major ambivalences in this show concern the perception of the imagery and how important it is to decipher it. Berryhill presents his subjects theatrically with proscenium-like verticals as quotation marks and a shallow horizontal strip at the bottom that stages each event. The grain of the linen, and small, dry brushstrokes allow Berryhill to use a halftone-like layering process, producing a surface of fuzzy colors and figure-ground inversions. The results are images seeming indefinite, corroded, or out of focus."
Nathlie Provosty interviews painter Michael Berryhill about his work on the occasion of his exhibition Beggars Blanket at KANSAS Gallery, New York, on view through June 14, 2014.
Berryhill comments: "What’s exciting to me is being a little bit lost and then finding meaning; finding my way out of being lost is so palpable. And it’s fleeting, but when you feel that moment of getting an answer—where there are no answers forthcoming in our lives or elsewhere—when you get a real clarity in not-knowingness it’s a pretty inexplicable sensation experience. And I think that drawing does that, and a lot of different art forms; I’m a huge movie fan. But painting is the most vivid version...I don’t frontload my work with subject, and I don’t think about trying to get something to translate from a subject. I think the subject comes out of the translation of confusion. At some point it could be more figurative than object or more heavy than light, but I recognize the subject when it’s almost done. And that’s when I finish."
William Eckhardt Kohler blogs about the "weekend" exhibition Mark, Wipe, Scrape, Shape at Spaceshifter - the studio of painter Sangram Majumdar.
Kohler features "11 painters, Michael Berryhill, Gideon Bok, Matt Bollinger, Katherine Bradford, Tom Burckhardt, Jackie Gendel, Amy Mahnick, Majumdar, Kyle Staver, Didier Williams and Karla Wozniak, work in a variety of idioms; perceptual, abstract, poetical, narrative and conceptual... The dominant tone of these artists' orientation is that of idiosyncratic visionaries, rolling up their sleeves and forging a personal understanding of what painting can do. What is demonstrated here is that the newness is in what each artist brings to the table as each their own brilliant self; original rather than ideological or radical."
Winant posts a list of thoughts evoked by the exhibition. She writes: "I believe that this enumerated strategy will better serve objects that, by their very nature, elude clever and perspicuous description." Berryhill's work, she notes, conjures "the limits and possibilities of looking at something and trying, endlessly, to paint it."
Kalm notes that "Constructing his pictures from a mélange of early Modernist and Metaphysical styles representing the nescient phase of Surrealism, Berryhill scrapes and overworks the pictures until the have the luster of scrimshaw. Imagery is a tangle of representational forms verging into abstraction and back again, and a love of the painter's craft, a melodically high keyed palette, and the history of painting is evident."
Asked about his paintings, in which gestural abstraction and imagery blend together, Berryhill remarks "There's something about the searching for the thing you don't know what it is, the invention part I like, so when I get something in a drawing, I like, to work on it until it feels like a thing."
Edited by artist Brett Baker, Painters' Table highlights writing from the painting blogosphere as it is published and serves as a platform for exploring blogs that focus primarily on the subject of painting.