Jake Berthot: In Color

March 12 - April 23, 2016

Hard-line Yellow (Echo), 1991 
oil on linen
48 x 48 inches
JB15332

 

Jake Berthot
THE CHARIOT, GHOST DREAM AND THE CANDLE (AFTER DYLAN THOMAS), 1991 
Oil on linen
42 x 48 inches
JB10275

Jake Berthot
For Kerouac, 1991 
oil on linen
36 x 24 inches 
JB15313    

Jake Berthot
105 (Studio), 1990 
Oil on linen
30 3/4 x 20 3/4 inches 
JB15305

Jake Berthot
Untitled (Carl's Red), 1988 
oil on linen
40 x 28 inches
JB15314

Jake Berthot
Red Point (Form for Brancusi), 1991 
Oil on linen
21 1/4 x 16 inches
JB11028

Jake Berthot
SOMETIMES IT'S ALL I WANT, 1995 
Oil on linen
22 x 18 inches
JB10200

Jake Berthot
BONE, 1973 
Acrylic on canvas
72 x 72 inches
JB10274

Jake Berthot
Nympha Red, 1969 
Oil on Canvas
60 1/2 x 210 inches
JB15535

Press Release

Celebrating the career of Jake Berthot, Betty Cuningham Gallery is pleased to open Jake Berthot: In Color on Saturday, March 12th, with a reception from 4 – 7 PM. The exhibition will include approximately 20 works dating from 1969 to 2014.

As this is the first exhibition of Berthot’s work since his death in December of 2014, the Gallery chose to feature Nympha Red, a major work only once exhibited in 1988 at the Rose Art Museum (Brandeis University). Painted in 1969, Nympha Red measures 60 ½ x 210   inches and is the ‘sister painting’ to another major horizontal painting, Walken's Ridge, 1975-6, in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art. From these two paintings – painted early in his career – the titles alone indicate Berthot’s instinctive interest in both color and landscape.

Berthot began exhibiting in the mid-1960s, at a time when Abstract Expressionism, Pop and Minimalism were part of the aesthetic environment. Berthot’s early work was geometric and the color was subdued. Over the following years, his color intensified and the underlying grid opened to include an oval (some thought a portrait or a head). In 1992, Berthot moved to upstate New York where he wrote a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson on the wall of his new studio:

We may climb into the thin and cold realm of pure geometry and lifeless science, or sink into that of sensation.

Between these extremes is the equator of life, of thought, or spirit, or poetry – a narrow belt.

 

 

There, he began to incorporate the landscape into his paintings – the land that held him and demanded his care. Although his step away from abstraction to figuration seemed radical, the tenets that characterized his work remained the same: his torqued underlying grid, his distinctive brushwork (an admirer of Milton Resnick), and his sensitive color.

The artist died December 30, 2014 and bequeathed 12 works to the Phillips Collection, Washington DC. The bequest, along with works already in their collection, will be exhibited in the near future, dates to be announced.

Jake Berthot was born in Niagara Falls, NY in 1939.  He attended the New School for Social Research and Pratt Institute in the early 1960s. The artist held teaching positions at Cooper Union, Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania, and The School of Visual Arts. He received a number of awards and grants, including a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1981, a National Endowment for the Arts Grant in 1983 and an Academy Institute Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1992. Berthot’s work can be seen in a host of notable museum collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, and The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, all in New York City.  Nationally, his work is in the collections of The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, Houston Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX, The Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA, the Museum of Art, University of California, Berkeley, CA, among numerous others.