Betty Cuningham Gallery is pleased to announce, Marks, Mountains and Skulls,
an exhibition of works on paper and paintings by Jake Berthot. This will be the second exhibition at the Gallery since the artist’s passing in 2014. A celebration of the work will be held on Saturday, January 6 from 4 – 6 PM. Hard cider – a favorite drink of Jake’s – will be served!
Throughout his 45-year career, Berthot held on to the geometry of the grid (all his sketches are grids) and the poetry of an indeterminate space. Twisting the grid to achieve several vanishing points allowed him to realize, as he would call it, “a Rothko-like space.” The exhibition, Marks, Mountains and Skulls, focuses on three distinct themes: the mark, the landscape and the skull, which all share the same tenets and date from 1989 to 2014.
In 1992, Berthot moved to upstate New York. There the landscape and elements of still life came into his work. Although his step away from abstraction to figuration seemed radical, the underlying grid continued to anchor the mountain, the tree and the skull in a deep space. A single painting accompanies each of the three drawing groups – further underscoring Berthot’s commitment to structure and poetry.
The Phillips Collection collected several of Berthot’s paintings and works on paper during the artist’s lifetime and mounted a one-person show titled Jake Berthot: Drawing into Painting in 1996. In appreciation of the continued support, Berthot bequeathed thirteen works to the Collection upon his death in December 2014. This bequest added to the Phillips’ already impressive Berthot holdings. In 2016, Klaus Ottmann, Deputy Director for Curatorial and Academic Affairs at the Phillips Collection, curated Jake Berthot: From the Collection and Promised Gifts, which included approximately 30 works that spanned Berthot’s career.
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; in addition to the Phillips Collection, Washington, DC.
The Gallery exhibition will remain on view through Sunday, February 11, 2018.