Bill Scott "A Beautiful Afternoon" 2007
It’s wonderful to meet other artists with whom one shares an aesthetic point of view. In looking back at art history, there are numerous artists to whom I would love to be able to run back to in time so that I might naively offer my ad infinitum of thanks for their inspiration. Yet, the reality of inspiration is that it gets thrown forward uncharted and is not passed back and forth between you and your Muse as if the two of you were engaged in a game of catch.
Or does it ? A living Muse for me is the painter Marie Theres Berger. It is with her, more than with any of my other contemporaries, that I am engaged in a metaphorical game of inspirational catch. I met her in the late 1970s when we were students together at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. I remember, even as students, we liked each others paintings and lent each other some of the vases, fabrics and fake flowers and fruits we used in our still life set-ups. She shared her love for the paintings of Kees van Dongen, Nicholas de Stahl, Lovis Corinth, Max Beckmann and other artists. I always felt their inspirational force stood with her, almost imperceptibly in the wings, cheering her on as she painted.
The complexities of the technical process and intellectual decisions required for the creation of such stunning images appear deceptively casual and simple when Marie Theres paints. She was friends with the American artists, Jane Piper and Joan Mitchell, and like both of them she is a sublime colorist. Color is always at the vortex of her paintings whether working from a still life in her studio or an imaged landscape-infused arrangement. She might place jabbing strokes of turquoise alongside an unlikely yellow. Saturated pinks and reds butt up against warring greens that are themselves next to a pause of violets. A svelte-looking line is suggested where two colors meet. Another line is presented by the black mark left by a stick of charcoal as she swipes it alongside a patch of blue. Or her brush might touch upon a flat area of tranquil gray that acts as a foil allowing those other colors to sing and breath. She successfully reigns in the sunny calmness suggested by her subject matter and balances it to come into harmony with her stylistic boldness. The extraordinarily questioning equilibrium of her vision pulses with a rare aliveness. Every time I see her paintings I am simply stopped in my tracks. Yet after the initial awe, I then want to quickly run home and paint before I lose the feeling she offers that, in art all things are possible.
April 4, 2002