Jake Berthot, a NY artist influenced by the natural world and Emerson, has said that without the source, one cannot have form. “. . . if a painter has source and belief in that source, then form will come. I want to be clear here in that form in itself will never give source.” What is your source? “The closest I can come is . . . the promise and longing that I feel in nature. I don’t know what that longing and promise is, but I know when it is and is not in the painting.” —Berthot, in conversation
And from VQR about Jake’s work (this is a repost for the followers of this blog, but so well stated I’m using it again), Instead of the viewer’s gaze skimming off the surface like a skipped stone as in so much contemporary painting, Jake Berthot’s paintings hold you—stop you and engage you, stir you and disturb you. When you stand in front of one of Berthot’s recent paintings, you immediately become aware of depths in the painting and you are drawn out into them, feel some part of yourself emptying into them. But then the mysterious mutuality of reverie takes hold: into your newly created emptiness, something flows from the painting. And gradually, steadily, the experience of gazing at the canvas becomes a reciprocal emptying-out and filling, an ebb and flow. Depth speaks to depth. And when at last, after successive, calm, reciprocal emptyings and fillings, you break the spell of the encounter, you emerge changed in some quiet but definite way.
I do so aspire to have my works viewed in this way–the viewer emerging from the encounter changed in some quiet way. A transformation born of contemplation and reflection. I have been reading and following Jake’s work for the last year or so. He has, in his own quiet way, influenced how I approach my painting process and how I think about the viewer’s experience.