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Jake Berthot

Jake Berthot’s recent exhibition at the Betty Cuningham Gallery was nominated for the year’s best commercial gallery show in New York by the International Association of Art Critics. Berthot’s other honors include awards and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His work is included in the collections of most major galleries and museums in the United States and Europe, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Phillips Collection.


Turnings and Returnings: The Art of Jake Berthot

Fall 2006 | Essays

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.