Biography

Bio
Emily Berger lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. A graduate of  Brown University, she received an MFA in painting from Columbia University, attended the Skowhegan School in Maine and has been awarded several art residencies. Her work has been exhibited widely, and is included in many private and public collections.  She is included in the traveling exhibition, Blurring Boundaries: The Women of American Abstract Artists, 1936-Present, on view in spring of 2021 at The Baker Museum, Naples, Florida, as well as the traveling exhibition, American Abstract Artists 75th Anniversary Print Portfolio. Solo exhibitions in New York City include Rhythm and Light at Walter Wickiser Gallery, New Paintings at Norte Maar gallery, and Marking Time at Scholes Street Studio. Recent exhibitions include Form and Intent at Abstract Project in Paris, France, the two-person Syncopation, at Odetta Gallery,  Salon Zurcher, 11 Women of Spirit, at Zurcher Gallery, and Side to Side, Three Ways at Key Projects in New York City, reviewed by Karen Wilkin in The Hudson Review, Winter, 2021.


Artist Statement 

My work is based on a structure of repetitive and deliberate gesture that is intuitive but carefully considered. I brush, wipe, rub, and scrape, incorporating the color, texture, and pattern of the supports, concealing and revealing underlying layers in various states of transparency and solidity. I work with and against whatever happens as I paint from edge to edge or expose areas of the surface to create shape. Chance is an essential element of my process;  texture emerges as I brush across the surface, creating vestigial verticals among the horizontals in unpredictable ways. The rhythm and variety of the bands of paint, the motion of painting, create broken symmetry and light, and a kind of veiled space. The sag or curvature in the structure of marks creates weight and a slight roundedness, evoking gravity and the body in the mix of organic and geometric form. I am engaged at the intersection of gesture and structure, chance and control, openness and containment. In this work I’ve continued to break up the linearity of the horizontal bands with series of stuttering or irregular marks, made by stopping and starting my hand and arm as I draw the brush across the surface in a kind of dance that alludes to sound. Each painting is like a text I write, or music composed. Within the structure improvisation is key. Horizontal bands create one kind of rhythmic movement while the marks create a syncopated pulse. The process of painting, incorporating the effects of chance, the materiality of paint and surface, evidence of the hand and body and the painter painting, are most important to me. Variations and surprise within the structure of movement and mark making are the elements that keep me going. My process is direct and immediate but unfolds in time. Revealed in the work are traces of revision, process and thought; the viewer can enter and share in the experience of painting, pay attention to nuance, slow down, move in and out and breathe.