Raging Against the Dying of the Light

Jake Berthot, “Night, Sea and the Rock” (c. 2014), oil on linen, 34 1/2 inches x 41 1/2 inches

In an interview between art critic Jennifer Samet and artist Jake Berthot (1939–2014), Berthot reveals that he had a hardscrabble life. He grew up with his grandparents on a truck farm in central Pennsylvania. One work of art was in the house — a double-sided piece. On one side was a line drawing of the horse; on the other a Victorian print of the Last Supper. When he describes his attraction to the drawing, he asks rhetorically, “How could someone make you feel a drawing that is not there?” He cannot believe that you can make a drawing of a real-life subject without having it in front of you. His puzzlement about the relationship between form and absence, what is there and not there, haunted him his entire life.

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