Artist: Michael Berube
I am interested in the power of seduction. I am interested in a beauty that toys with excess and the abandon of Jouissance. I believe that seduction is a major element in my favorite work and in my own, I believe that beauty, an element of seduction, is something essential and not to be feared. Beauty comes in many forms. It can be glorious and it is capable of being strangely sad or dark and ominous and that range is very exciting. I am fascinated by color and pattern, charged with the dialectics inherent in issues of taste and aesthetics, and informed by an identity infused camp sensibility. My work has a direct relationship to the body, in its imagery and its scale. In imagery, it refers to the abject by its twisting, tumor-like forms that emerge from the painted marks and in the fabrics that reference clothing and the home, here carved and fragmented and embedded into a kaleidoscopic landscape. The work also confronts the body with its scale which is both awesome and intimate. I believe that these are ideas that, at their most provocative, are a testament to imagination and the best and worst of what it means to be human. I choose to believe that these ideas are best investigated through the discipline of painting. I believe there is a forbidding, terrible side to these interests and that there is a great wealth of humor inherent in them as well. I aim to address all of these interests via my work.
One core idea, other than seduction and beauty, which is essential to my thinking and contributes heavily to my work, is found in the word excess. Excess and the manner in which it has been interpreted and represented over the centuries is something that has always fascinated me conceptually. I have a profound connection to those excessive elements, as I interpret them, found in the art of the Baroque period, especially the religious art of Italy. Drawing from elements of that period, such as scale, shape, shine, pattern, and the symbolic nature of the metallic colors of gold and bronze, my latest work is driven by the idea that the excesses of our contemporary time might be represented through the creation of a contemporary version of the Baroque, divorced from the religious content and exploring a purely secular imagery. It offers me a way in which to address my identity issues by exploiting the inherently camp sensibility of the aesthetics of taste and the decorative. This camp sensibility confronts my interest in the concept of beauty and complicates a purely aesthetic reading of the work.
Finally, I believe that art creates a social space in which ideas, conversations, and perspectives can interact with a vast array of interested parties. I believe that a work of art is never complete until it has an audience.