Julia Berkman – Statement

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My paintings are visual reflections of my internal emotional world.  They are like windows into different parts of my mind.  As part of the process of creating my work, I explore the multi-layered nature of various emotions such as loss, doubt, and bewilderment.  My reaction to an event or series of events never reaches a precise conclusion.  There is a coinciding disintegration of order and search for clarity in my artwork.  The forms in my paintings oscillate between foreground and background, presence and absence, the material and immaterial.  The deterioration of matter suggests disorder: the kind of disorder that is barely visible, quietly humming beneath the surface.  However, there is a simultaneous search for wholeness, for an underlying order and sense of resolution.

I view the internal and external as inextricably linked.  Just as emotions, thoughts, and sensations cycle through my conscious and unconscious mind, objects shift into my field of vision and then leave, generating an ever-shifting spectrum of responses and questions.  I often reflect on water as something that is both matter and the absence of matter.  Water can embody color and substance, yet can be as translucent and imperceptible as the air we breathe.

I sometimes begin a painting with a plan, a set of presupposed expectations of how the painting will come to be.  What often happens is that every choice I make generates new challenges and demands.  The process begins again and again, allowing for possibilities that can be surprising, difficult to digest, yet exhilarating.  I work intuitively, yet nothing I make is completely random.  Every color choice, brushstroke and wiping away of paint become part of the painting, even if the underlying layers are not immediately visible to the viewer.  The textured surfaces of my paintings are a record of everything underneath.

Ultimately I paint because I want to share.  I want to make objects that are immediate and eternal.

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