1. Interview with Patrick Berran


    Jamison Brosseau, Spider (Red and White), acrylic on panel, 40 x 30 in. 

    I’ve known the artist Patrick Berran for a while and have really enjoyed seeing his work move along. He’s doing some curating now and he’s put together a really nice show called Hello, Darling at Southfirst in Williamsburg with Tamara Gonzales, Amy Feldman, Jamison Brosseau, Brook Moyse, John Szlasa and himself.  

    It closes today! Check it out NOW and see his website here. Also see my interview with him below:

    JL: How did you develop this show at SouthFirst? As an artist, I’m curious how you might view the role of curating today.  

    PB: This show was a year in the making-It originally started with a friend asking me to curate a show at their alternative space—-that didn’t pan out and Maika at SouthFirst was excited about it and in the end it really gelled with their space. I couldn’t be happier with the final outcome. It terms of the work- I was interested in a show that showcased painting that had different approaches to abstraction and I wanted the show to highlight works that come from artists with a vigorous studio practice. The title and press release is in relation to this. Hello, Darling is the idea of creation in the studio, the time allotted that allows for multiple viewings (with respect to the viewer as well) to leave something with the anticipation and excitement of seeing it the following day…the next time you approach the studio. The hand is important, and I feel abstraction lends an amazing hand toward those virtues of art making. There is risk and excitement about the creation, the push pull of failure and success in an image/work of art.

    In terms of curating, I love it, I think it is great. I wish I had more time to commit to it. Similar to DJs, everyone seems to be a curator today—-but that is great too! I feel the role of curating is to present worthwhile ideas and I honestly feel I presented artists that deserved to be presented in a context that suited them well. Their works look amazing together and to me that is important.

    JL: You were in the first show that I curated in 2005 and not surprisingly, your work and gotten increasingly strong since then. From what I remember, “abstract” painting was kind of uncool at the time. Is that how you remember it?

    PB: I remember that show fondly, can’t believe that was 2005. From 2002-2005 Within my circles (I was finishing grad school at the time), painting in general had a hard time. Abstract painting was definitely uncool. You had to have a defense, had to have all your ducks in a line. I actually had a professor in my final tutorial jokingly tell me that no one cares about abstraction at the moment and to “have fun.”  Describing myself as an abstract painter-I felt I always had to add a disclaimer so people would not write me off and shudder at the notion.

    However, I would also add that in 2005 I feel it was slightly turning a positive tide at that point. I am not sure what turned the tide, but somewhere during 2006-8 abstract painting became hugely popular—even some artists that were not abstract painters-suddenly were. I also feel that animosity toward painting lessened.

    JL: How do you think its changed since then?

    PB:  I feel that options are more open these days—-I feel that people gravitate toward painting in a very responsive way and I do find that refreshing. But I also feel that the criticality (is that a word?) is soft. You know, style over substance. Or maybe people don’t have an allegiance to something in particular.


    Amy Feldman, Seeing is Believing, 2013, acrylic on canvas, 75 x 85 in. 

    JL: There’s also this compulsion by previous generations to put a name to it, which I don’t see as much with people who emerged in the 2000s, who seem to prefer to call it painting rather than even “abstraction.” I’ve also heard it called both “crappy” and “casual.” What would you say?

    PB: People relate to life that way. They feel that they understand it once it is labeled. Personally I would prefer not to be labeled as part of a movement. The crappy/casual aesthetic… I call it the faux naïve aesthetic and I feel it is conflicting. It simultaneously tries to incorporate irony or a rebellious nature with having a privileged knowledge of art history. Sometimes it is successful but I am just not interested in it. I am not quite sure what I am to experience with the work. What am I supposed to come away with? I don’t make painting to talk about painting all the time.

    JL: So what else are you working on now?

    PB: I am painting and making some bigger works at the moment. Exhibition wise, I curated a show coming up March 16th at WILDLIFE in Brooklyn called “Ears. Nose. Throat” - a presentation of sculpture, painting and installation. I am very excited about this show. I have a two person show at Storefront Bushwick w/ Jack Henry in May and I am giving a talk at Virginia Commonwealth University in April.