Collage reveals a physical decision, one that disrupts the existing content of a picture plane, conceals elements of what came before, and asserts its own physicality. Berran combines paper and canvas, turning to various drawing materials and techniques to expand the materiality of his surfaces. His earlier paintings conveyed texture through layers of painted and silkscreened patterns, but for this show, Berran interrupts the inherent smoothness of his previous works and plays with the dichotomous convergence of implied and actual texture.
The incorporation of paper on his painted surfaces nods to earlier stages of Berran’s practice in which he creates patterns that resembled static noise by repeatedly photocopying pages of his own sketchbooks. Beginning as line drawings derived from the artist’s memory or objects in his surroundings, his source imagery evolves into abstract form through a serial process. Although less prominent than before, fragments of his distilled drawings punctuate each painting.
Vibrant blues reverberate throughout Berran’s recent paintings in translucent swaths, transferred patterns, or drawn lines. His expanded palette of deep reds and purples suggest the rising and setting sun, a shift following his move from New York City to the Outer Banks where he experiences natural light and color with greater immediacy. All horizontally arranged, his paintings hint at layered landscapes but never reveal any recognizable sense of space, veering always in favor of abstraction.
Flirting with the art historical legacy of modernist abstraction, Berran interweaves and repeats formal elements, namely stripes, bleeding stains, and characteristic layered shapes, intuitively carving out paths within and around them. He allows his forms to disappear beyond the edges of the canvas and emphasizes the tension of his cropped edges with hand-made artist frames that pictorially bind his densely concentrated compositions. Imperfectly made, they reassert the artist’s hand with a decisive gesture.
Patrick Berran (b. 1980, Woodbridge, Virginia) lives and works in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. He received his MFA from Hunter College, New York in 2006. He has had solo exhibitions at Chapter NY, New York; Vault Gallery, Manteo, NC; College of The Albemarle, Elizabeth City, NC; Reynolds Gallery, Richmond, VA; One River School of Art + Design, Englewood, NJ; HUNTER / WHITFIELD, London; and White Columns, New York; among others. His work has been included in group exhibitions at American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York; Chapter NY, New York; Over Under, Brooklyn; Rod Bianco, Oslo; M+B Gallery, Los Angeles; Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art, Indianapolis; and Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York; among others.