The ever-evolving Belgian artist thrives on uncertainty.
The painter Jean-Baptiste Bernadet is fluent in a number of styles—minimal, monochromatic, gestural, impressionistic—and works in scales both large and small. In his new “brush strokes” paintings—which will be on view at New York’s American Contemporary gallery June 11 through August 10—repeated marks accumulate for an effect that hovers between the recognizable and the abstract. “I don’t feel any certainty about life, so I want my work to reflect that uncertainty,” says Bernadet, 36, who was born in Paris and is based in Brussels. “I will never be the kind of artist who does one thing.”
But, as American Contemporary founder Matthew Dipple says, “while his approach doesn’t have a linear structure, everything he does is interconnected.” If there is a constant in Bernadet’s work, it’s that there is no constant: He is dependably restless and mercurial, always exploring painting’s many dialects. Earlier this year, Fugue, a series of eight large canvases covered with kaleidoscopic fields of brushstrokes, was installed sequentially, like a mural, at London’s Rod Barton gallery. “ ‘Fugue’ implies repeated, superimposed voices,” Bernadet says. “I’ve always felt that music is more direct than any other form of art. That blast of recognition you feel—that is something I would love to translate into painting.”