On Saturday 24th of April, My Name’s Lolita Art gallery in Madrid will be presenting Energy is Residual, a solo debut by Max Berry. For this presentation Australian painter whose pensive approach to landscape painting we introduced last year has created a large series of hazy snapshots of evocative locations, scenes, and objects.

By amassing the nebulous forms of carefully chosen hues Max Berry is constructing semi-fictional vignettes that often focus on depicting countryside scenery or candid details related to such settings. Referenced from an image or a mere experience of an actual, existing place, his paintings are carefully stylized impressions of the original sight. Inviting the viewer to examine what they see and create their own relationship with that or similar place they might recognize, these sites become spaces of solitude and reflection.

In order to avoid overly determining the subject matter he works with, Berry has developed a unique visual language that transforms the mundane scenes into mirage-like apparitions, further evoking an emotional response to the work. At the same time, his unique approach to deconstructing the image enables him to not simply freeze the moment but actually slow down the time. And whether looking at the warmth of a setting sun, moonlight glistening on the water, galloping horse, crashing waves, or a delicate glow of a candle, one can get a glimpse of both moments before and after the depicted picture. With special attention added to the light and shadow play, created through the use of somewhat exaggerated yet subdued colors and amorphization of familiar shapes, ordinary sights are reduced or intensified to calming and harmonious compositions. Such a poetic approach transforms often disparate places and objects into potent visuals full of inviting, evocative subtleties, all while echoing emotions related to the location. 

“I aim to express the magic at the moment, the moment beneath the moment. The stone is rough, the sun is warm and the shadow cool. Even in such tiny events, you can sense the wonder of a much larger universe,” Berry explains the way in which these seemingly prosaic motifs earn almost fantastical qualities in his work. The sensitivity towards the magic and beauty of raw nature comes to light with a constant juxtaposition of its imposing, raw beauty and man-made structures. While one is rendered as vigorous and entrancing, the other one is oftentimes decaying and giving space to the unrelenting rhythm of growth. —Sasha Bogojev