Carl Belz on Jake Berthot

Jake Berthot, Untitled, 1977, oil and pencil on canvas, 40 x 24 inches
Jake Berthot, Untitled, 1977, oil and pencil on canvas, 40 x 24 inches

Carl Belz blogs an essay entitled Studio Romance: Jake Berthot's Paintings 1969 ­- 1988 written for a 1988 exhibition at the Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University. Berthot passed away last week.

Belz concludes: "Jake Berthot's paintings spread before us, a landscape of feelings and ideas, of powerful assertions and acknowledged doubts. More felt, more felt, more felt, he repeats to us, and we can understand what he means as we address the work. In fact, the survey of paintings here assembled can be said to articulate what he has meant at any moment by his concern to make the paintings more felt. At any moment: For what he meant by it in 1970 is no more like what he meant by it in 1975 than it is like what he meant by it in 1980, or what he means by it now. The self he seeks to discover through feeling, the self at the heart of his investigation, is no more fixed than is his conception of painting's purpose or identity. Each must be consistently discovered and grasped anew in the present."