John Berry | New Paintings
“Using color, pattern, line and texture my work strives to capture what it is to be human. To live with a dual nature of spirit and body. I use the interplay of line, pattern, shape and color to explore what it means to be human. By adding marks, covering or erasing marks, I hope to convey a sense of a life lived and the complexities of living and making our way in a human world.” - John Berry
Can you describe this body of work and what inspired it?
"… I do not think of it as a "body" of work, there's not a starting or stopping point. It is just one stream of consciousness that has come from inside. As far as inspiration, I am not sure I have inspiration per se, rather, what is in my thoughts or what is currently happening in my life, that is the genesis of all my work..."
Could you talk a little about your process?
"… Routinely I try to change the way I work. Whether that is starting differently or using different materials or ways of application. I try to constantly mix it up, make myself uncomfortable with what I am doing. Even buying arbitrary colors... By doing this though, I hope to let each work become what it needs to be, if I am doing the same routine over and over, I feel it becomes stale. I think you can see this if you look at my work over the last few years."
Do you listen to music while you paint, if so what have you been listening to recently and does it influence the work?
"Yes, I do. It always influences the work in one way or another... Music produces such an emotional response, whether it is the pace, sound, nostalgia etc. So I usually select music that is in rhythm with my feelings for that day. But sometimes I do put something on that is the opposite of what I'm feeling, that is always interesting... It will range from Indie Rock to Reggae to Classical, to 80's music I grew up with, but more times than not it is what the kids call Alternative. Spoon and Metric are my favs."
What have you been reading?
“The Last River”, a nonfiction story about people trying to kayak a river near Nepal, that has never been run before. I like adventure stories, but if you wanted to get artsy, I did recently finish a biography of Matisse. Biographies of artists are a mainstay of my reading, go figure."
Can you talk about how you come up with the titles of your pieces?
"Most of the time my titles come from songs or phrases I read or hear that resonate with the piece. Sometimes they are straightforward, sometimes I try not to reveal directly what I was thinking or feeling, just hint at it... I hope by doing that I let the viewer fill in the gaps, make the piece their own. Kind of like connecting the dots, that is the hope anyway."
About John Berry:
A working artist for 25 years, Berry started his career as an illustrator before turning to painting. Initially he worked as a wildlife and landscape artist, exhibiting regularly. As he continued his career he turned his full attention to the landscape, painting Plein Air and then developing larger works back in the studio. Over time his work shifted to focus on the shapes and colors of a more abstracted landscape, eventually moving entirely to pure abstraction. Berry works intuitively, channeling feelings and emotions into the painting, the results of which are bold colorful works that exude a pure expression and passion for the act of painting.