Tom Berenz: Towards the North

James Watrous Gallery

Mar. 18, 2024 - May. 6, 2016

201 State Street
Madison, 53704

“I explore the in-between space that is neither real nor artifice, still-life nor landscape, natural nor artificial, messy nor clean, flat nor deep, and dynamic nor static.” -Tom Berenz

Tom Berenz’s current paintings combine recognizable bits and pieces from ordinary life–playground equipment, mittens and hats, ducks and strawberries–with swaths of color and pattern, piling them together into tight compositions that he calls mounds. Jumbled and disconnected, the busted-up objects in these mounds may be broken, but they are full of life and color. Berenz locates a kind of forlorn beauty in things like melted snowmen, crumpled birthday cakes, or the splintered parts of a plywood “gardening grandma” figure. Folding these random, discarded objects into swirling piles of sharply defined colored shapes, he exploits the tension between realism and abstraction to create taut, dreamlike scenes that tug at the imagination.

Tom Berenz, Cake Flight, 2013. Acrylic and spray paint on canvas, 60 in. x 72 in.

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