Eric Holzman: Tribute to Jake Berthot

Jake Berthot, Ashton's Tree, 2010, oil on linen (courtesy of Betty Cuningham Gal
Jake Berthot, Ashton's Tree, 2010, oil on linen (courtesy of Betty Cuningham Gallery)

Eric Holzman remembers painter Jake Berthot (1939-2014).

Holzman writes: "Since Jake came to landscape painting from a different angle than everyone else, that is abstract painting, I imagine the grids provided a scaffold upon which he could build and construct his compositions. They must have made the space between things seem palpable and real, measurable in some way. With them in place, he could more readily move and feel his way through the warp and flow of form and space. Jake came to the sensuality of landscape and representation not through direct observation, but through abstraction and geometry which was also real to him. I bet he saw, felt or sensed those grids underlying the physical world, connecting and flowing through everything that we inhabit... For me, taken as a whole, [Berthot's] work was an expression of faith and philosophy. It is a treatise on a way of being in the world of consumption and competition. It is an alternative to irony. Jake's work attempts to build a bridge to another way of being, to the sacred. Sometimes, I think he got deeper into hidden worlds than anyone since Cezanne. For Jake painting was a portal, a transporter to other dimensions where the line between life and death fades."