Biography

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 residency fellowships, including from Millay Arts. Her work has been exhibited widely, and reviewed in numerous publications such as The Hudson Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Two Coats of Paint, Hyperallergic, and The Boston Globe. She is included in many private and public collections.  

Berger has been presented in solo exhibitions at TenBerke Architects, Walter Wickiser Gallery, Norte Maar, Scholes Street Studio, and The Painting Center, all in New York City. Recent exhibitions also include PLAYLIST, at One GAP Gallery, On Balance, curated by Mary Birmingham at Art Cake, Sight/Unseen, curated by Hanne Tierney, SONIC at Metaphor Gallery, Form and Intent at Abstract Project in Paris, Syncopation at Odetta Gallery, Salon Zurcher, 11 Women of Spirit at Zurcher Gallery, and Side to Side, Three Ways at Key Projects, reviewed by Karen Wilkin in the Hudson Review. Berger is a member of American Abstract Artists and included in the traveling exhibition, Blurring Boundaries: The Women of American Abstract Artists,1936-Present.


Artist Statement


I approach my paintings like writing or music, making deliberate and improvisatory marks with rests and breaks along the way.The vertical format is like a page for notation and also mirrors the body. I want the viewer to stand attentively in front of the painting, experiencing it, as if in conversation, listening and responding.

As I paint, my hand stops and stutters, making a variety of marks, pulses and intervals in a mix of rhythms, texture, color and light, creating various kinds of space. The wood panels I paint on provide a warm, tactile and patterned ground on which to begin. I choose scale, color, brushes and other tools, painting with oil in a primarily horizontal, and sometimes vertical, motion, layering, revising and reconsidering as I go; a malleable grid provides a loose structure for me. I select the colors and structure of the work, but with each layer, the unpredictable emerges. My intuitive response to these changes guides the painting’s evolution; chance and control are both at play. Variation and surprise, freedom within the structure of repetitive movement and mark making are the key elements of my work; they work as a way to combine and resolve the analytical and the emotional, the conscious and the unconscious, the rational and irrational. Within the limitations of the rectangle there is infinite room.