Peter Berner at Gallary@28

Peter Berner is a keen observer of human behaviour – a skill readily engaged in his practice as a cartoonist and as a comedian. With an economy of line, his portraits convey mood and presence of an intense in time with his subject.

A minimalist approach to his work, Berner was heavily influence in his formative years by cartoons and comic book sketches such as BC, Wizard of Id and Peanuts. The latest series of work, which will be exhibited at Gallery@28, Woollahra, was produced as a response to observing people in social settings such a bars and restaurant.

Stripping away the location of the sitter, a good many of Berner’s painters are often floating heads and torsos of the subject – no table, to chairs, no hint of their surrounds. No distraction from Berner’s experience and response to the sitting themselves built through layers of paint, as they emerge from the board on which they’re painted.

Working in oils, pastel crayon and pencil, Berner describes his technique as being physical. “I’m not a delicate artist working with a sable brush. I like to paint on board – I can have an argument with board whereas canvas relents too much.” Berner says he doesn’t begin the work knowing exactly how it will appear. “It’s a dialogue between me and the work. I’ll go away for a few days and maybe come back and obliterate what I’ve done. There are usually several different images under the final painting.”

Berner’s solo exhibition at Gallery@28 opens Wednesday 23 February until 15 March.

One Comment

  1. Elizabeth
    Posted March 9, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    I know exactly how you feel when it comes to painting on board instead of canvas. I prefer painting on board also. The canvas can’t take the same treatment as the board. Like you said, the canvas relents too much. And, like you, I also have an argument with the board too. I end up covering up 3 or 4 paintings underneath each final one. It’s like I can’t stop the conversation once I begin! I think I need somebody there to put a period at the end and then slide a new board on top or in place of the one just done.
    I’ve only seen the one painting of yours but it certainly relates to mine. Very interesting. Keep up the good work. Hire an assistant to change your boards when they’re done.

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