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Sheldon Berlyn: New Work

Apr 4 - Jun 8 1997

UB Art Gallery

Behind each Berlyn painting and drawing is a rigidly disciplined planning and working process. For Berlyn, the record of the brushstroke (in the case, most often a squeegie-stroke) is not as important as the interacting forms left behind when the painting is done. Then the crisp, translucent funnels of color assert themselves, coming close to three-dimensionality at points as they snake into and around each other…Usually, in Berlyn’s works, there is a strong element of drawing, particularly calligraphic mark-making, subtle references to grids and geometry, and an overall adherence to the verticality of the figure. That’s where the planning comes in: Berlyn’s paintings do not burst into flower as a result of the gestural process alone. Before beginning a painting, Berlyn has lately been in the habit of “researching” masterpieces by such artists as Caravaggio, Michelangelo and Pontormo, focusing on the overall composition of each work. He then explores the possible strategies of recreating this composition movement in abstract form. Most often, the older works employ circular central compositions, which inspire the centrifugal energy of Berlyn’s paintings.

This exhibition continues the Gallery’s Curatorial Initiatives program, providing a venue for faculty to publish research in the form of exhibitions. This exhibition, in collaboration with the Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University, features a selection of Berlyn’s work at both locations.

Excerpted from catalogue essay by Al Harris F.