Erin Westenskow Berrett

The paradox of the term “still life” inspires Erin. There’s a fundamental tension between the still and the life, isn’t there? That’s what she tries to capture when she paints. To her, objects are never completely motionless, or emotionless for that matter. They tremble. They vibrate. And those vibrations are produced not only by the construction of the object, but by the external forces exerted on it — the angle of the light, for instance, and the perspective of the viewer. She pushes herself to be as abstract as possible in the details while still achieving the perception of reality. To do this, she is meticulous in placing the object and getting exactly the right light. Then, when she begins to paint, she never blends. Instead, she places thousands of precise strokes side-by-side, swaths of color that are then translated by the observer. Two inches of canvas viewed from a few inches away might have a hundred strokes that seem to form nothing, but when the piece is considered as a whole, hopefully the effect is highly representational. What’s a good painting to her? It’s hard to know, but she’ll tell you this: when the object comes alive, and the environment, Erin and the viewer, all participate to make that happen – that’s success to her.

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