New York

Michael Berryhill’s Impossible Art

Island, 2012. Book and oil paint.

Michael Berryhill’s oil paintings at KANSAS make me uneasy. In trying to decide why, I made a list of the things that remind me of his work. Instead of smoothing these references out into a proper review (as I had initially planned), I present them to the reader as is. I believe that this enumerated strategy will better serve objects that, by their very nature, elude clever and perspicuous description. The contents of list appear in no specific sequence, and may be read in any order.

1.The limits and possibilities of looking at something and trying, endlessly, to paint it.

2. Uselessness

3. “Destruction is part of the (loving) understanding of the object.” – Jean Baudrillard, Fragments

4. Hallucinations that other people have described to me while on ayahuasca

5. Inevitable failure in the face of dogged persistence

6. Arrested locomotion; arrested sublimation

7.  A dream I once had about looking at everything and everyone through a fish tank

8. Preserved, decorated flotsam (from the ocean’s floor)

9. Aridity

10.  Raw(ness): Being in or nearly in the natural state: not processed or purified, not diluted or blended, not being in polished, finished, or processed; Having the surface abraded or chafed or very irritated; Lacking covering: not protected and susceptible to hurt – Merriam-Webster dictionary

11. Ecstasy versus Nirvana

12. Teenage flesh and sinew

13. Colors that, though they have been blanched and desiccated by the sun, still appear astonishingly bright

14. A joke I got too long after everyone else

15. Transference (disambiguation)

16. “[Painting] will get smaller, weirder, and more monstrous” – John Kelsey, Bohemian Monsters

17. Three point perspective, foreshortening, and cross-hatching

18. Philip Guston

19. Peter Saul

20. and Forrest Bess

21. “I remember that it was hard to look at it and hard not to look at it too.” – Joe Brainard, I Remember

22. Dehydrated muscle fibers, any animal

23. ____________________________________________________

24. Deflation, ­sexual impotence

25. “If I hear the explanation that I’m hovering between abstraction and representation one more time I’m going to go on a killing spree.” – Charline Von Heyl

26. A school project I made in 3rd grade that involved using dried, pliable mouse bones as material

27. Interior landscapes

28. Turgidity

29. Gravity

30. “At twenty-four she left all of those opinions behind and for the first time to live in Texas, where there were no trees to paint and no one to tell her how not to paint them. In Texas there was only the horizon line she craved. “ – Joan Didion, The White Album

–Carmen Winant

Schmevelations, 2012. Oil on linen.

Pump Jack Ass, 2009. Ink on canvas, wood, and styrofoam.

Tombstone, 2012. Plaster, cardboard, and oil paint.

Loss Leader, 2012. Oil on linen.

Life After Death Rose, 2012. Found object, plaster, and cast iron.