May 1, 2008

Berthot and Dodd: Compare and contrast

"Both artists engage in a significant degree of abstraction within their realism in the sense of excluding extraneous detail and homing in on what they take to be essences," declares David Cohen in the NY Sun. "But with Ms. Dodd, the essence is always linked to stuff that is actually observed, to sensations experienced. With Mr. Berthot, the mystery is a priori; the point of the painting is to hammer home the artist’s visionary status. Ironically, while Ms. Dodd takes greater liberties with form, producing paintings that are proudly Modernist in their celebration of their own flatness, insisting on being surfaces covered in gestures and materials that have life of their own, her brushstrokes and color decisions are always perceptual, linked to things seen. You really sense that her vision comes from a lifetime of seeing. His, on the other hand, is conceptual, making manifest its maker’s origins in abstraction. This is not in any way to diminish the integrity of his depictions of specific places on his estate, made clear from titles like 'Old Logging Road Off Mills Wetland' (2007), which has a credible sense of space, of actual trees in their actual locations. But the local decisions all feel studio-bound, and linked to a bigger vision of what his painting means, rather than of what this specific painting depicts." Read more.

"Lois Dodd: Landscapes and Structures," Alexandre Gallery, New York, NY. Through May 30.
"Jake Berthot," Betty Cunningham, New York, NY. Through May 10.
Related post: Jake Berthot: Notes from Notes to Myself

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