Jake Berthot’s paintings are haunted by an awareness of mortality and, beyond that, a feeling that no light awaits in the darkness.
All that I saw were some small and medium-sized paintings, mostly very dark, almost indistinguishable. How could I review this show?
Before Jake Berthot became a painter, he was ridiculed by high school peers for an unorthodox answer he once gave in class. Berthot’s teacher rescued him by saying that the response he’d given made its own kind of sense because the young man was a poet.
This week in art news: Anish Kapoor storms Versailles, PJ Harvey turns her music into public art, and the Broad Museum’s façade is revealed to be very disappointing.
The Age of Small Things, a group show organized by the painter Chuck Webster, fills the ground floor of the Lower East Side’s Dodge Gallery, where the singular touch of the artist-curator has recast a parade of diminutive objects into an unpredictable unfolding of processes and ideas.
I visited Jake Berthot in upstate New York at his home in the woods of the Catskill Mountains. After spending time in his studio, followed by vegetable soup for lunch, we walked outside towards my car. It then occurred to me how Berthot, through body language and the tenor of his conversation, creates spaces for observation, allowing words to linger.
For the past twenty years Jake Berthot has painted his vision of the Catskill Mountains, where he has lived since 1994, after living in Manhattan, much of it on the Bowery, for thirty years. A painter of what he calls “small sensations,” Berthot has included fourteen paintings and six drawings completed in the last three years, in his current solo exhibition at Betty Cuningham (October 17–November 30, 2013).