Wednesday, May 13, 2009
"Darkest Hour Before the Dawn"
Chris Berens was born in 1976 in Oss, Netherlands. He lives and works in Amsterdam, where he is represented by Jaski Art Gallery.
He uses only ink, for its transparency. He puts the ink on glossy inkjet paper. The smooth plastic surface allows him to adjust the ink in a way that paper wouldn't while the ink is wet--and it stays wet for a couple of days. When the ink is almost dry, he takes a blow dryer to his image, which heats the plastic and pushes the ink into it, blurring the image out slightly, and erasing any brush strokes. He also makes several copies of each part of the image, and when they are dry, he peels the glossy coating off the paper, cuts out each image, and layers them over each other to further erase any hint of brush stroke-- this is what gives the image the "blurred photograph" look and its depth. When he cuts them out, he cuts off the edges of the drawings, removing the part where the ink is weakest. He collages all the pieces together with bookbinder's glue.
"Welcome to the Great Below"
"What I make is not a distortion or reshaping of the reality which everyone sees around them, or of events which actually happen. That is not what my work is about. I simply try to paint the world inside my head. This world has been with me since I was a child. It is populated by people and animals and is filled with landscapes, villages, cities and scenes. All kinds of things happen in this world and various stories unfold. But it's not the ‘normal’ world, and they are not the things that happen in the regular world."
“I treat every painting as I would a diary, in which I, instead of using words – because they are just too straightforward – draw and paint my thoughts and feelings," Berens says. “Naming a painting feels like closing a case. To me, a title is the affirmation of something I have suspected all along. Peace at last.”
From Juxtapoz: "Creating in a fashion akin to automatic surrealistic style, Chris’ compositions are never planned beforehand, but rather grow organically from section to section. He says that anytime he plans something out or has a specific thing he wants to create it never turns out, and that when he finds himself actively thinking he quickly has to stop working. "
His page is lovely...
He says on it:
"Chris Berens paints visions of his internal universe as if he sees it through an ancient handmade lens which warps and obscures his view of that curious place in unpredictable ways. His kaleidoscopic mirror world, inhabited by an exotic menagerie of beasts, mysterious Madonnas and lost children, is richly represented with color palettes, environments, and themes reminiscent of Golden Age Dutch painters like Vermeer and Rembrandt, yet its overall effect is vaguely disturbing, in the manner of Rosamond Wolff Purcell and the Brothers Quay."
"Meet the Andersons"
Note: for those of you close by, Chris Berens and Mia Araujo will both have works in the Lush Life show at Roq La Rue in Seattle, Washington, from this Friday (May 8) until June 2. Mia Araujo's work can be seen in yesterday's post.
"Out of the Blue Into the White"
"The Wind Blows West"