Joel Berry

individual, ENTITY.22
GVSU Alumni Status:
GVSU Alum, 2005
Artist Biography:
Joel Berry graduated from Grand Valley State University in 2005 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in printmaking. He has been in many different shows in Grand Rapids. Berry has also received various awards for his printmaking. "My work is an exploration of the duality between chance occurrence and purposeful action. Two differing processes are balanced to create each piece. The first represents a chance operation and involves the limitation of control over visual results. Impulsive application of liquid paint and the use of gravity to push and pull it across a surface allow an unpredictable integration of black and white. By contrast, the layering of concentric circles is a deliberate approach. It calls attention to extensive control and determination with paint, accepting the initial layer as a foundation for premeditated pattern. This divergence in processes is parallel to the reality that human experience is the balance of what we do with what is beyond our control. Correspondingly, the use of black and white paint offers a visual link to the constant play of positive and negative that defines consciousness. Working with diluted paint allows for the chaotic formations as well as the intricacy involved in the focused application of circles. Additionally, it provides the fullest contrast and richest value possible for both processes. Surfaces are often pre-existing and intuitively selected from a multitude of possibilities, as with lakeshore rocks. These rocks are chosen for their specific form, however it is happenstance that causes one to catch my eye amid such a vastly rocky landscape. Chance also determines the fractures, and therefore the surfaces to be painted, as I smash rocks together and gather the resultant fragments to peruse. Other substrates include objects of personal relevance chosen for their sentimental or allusive qualities. The attainment of harmony between these oppositional processes and materials necessitates the completion of my paintings. This striving for balance within a visual convergence imparts a calming, mindful awareness of the present moment and a retreat from the complication of life. My hope is that these positive results are passed on to the viewer, instilling in them some new sense of balance or peace."